2000 Years Of Mystery Buried In The Sand – Petra, Jordan
Looking at Petra is looking through a sandy hour glass of time. One of the most mysterious cities known to man, Petra’s history is full of mirages and hidden paths. The ancient city has been on my bucket list since I was a child watching Indiana Jones.
The city is splattered with passageways leading to all edges of the once thriving Nabatean civilization. Petra’s passageways were most likely formed by an ancient earthquake before the cities construction.
Petra’s sandstone walls show the 2000 year old cities layers of history. Depending on who you ask Petra has a very mixed history. Historians use ancient religious texts and the few scarce written accounts from various philosophers alive at the time. Archaeologist resort to their knowledge of excavations and arial images that seem to point to a city still buried in the sand.
Mythologist take on the stories, tales and legends to try to fill in the gaps and answer some of the “whys.”
The once full function city of Petra was a major hub on the caravan route and housed thousands of citizens. Each piece of the civilization carved in varying detail, still set in its original spot.
One of the many contributing factors to Petra’s rich history was set into place by the Crusaders. Their scripture tells of a rock lost somewhere in the maze of passageways that Moses struck. The rock brought forth water to the Israelites and made Petra holy oasis.
The extreme size of the carved out city dwarfs humans visitors to the scale of ants. The ancient sandstone walls are dotted black by thousands of cave-like dwellings.
Horse driven carriages still travel the dusty streets even today, full of tourists of course. Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and see about 450,000 tourists through its walls every year.
The Treasury is the most detailed and widely known image of the sand stone city. The famous columns, estimated to have been carved in 100 B.C.E. are high in detail and topped by a giant urn.
Rumors throughout time have told of a great treasure hidden within the rock walls of the Treasury. There are even bullet holes littered across the front of the urn, most likely from a not so long ago struggle to find the loot.
Although these rumors add even more enticement to Petra’s lure, Archaeologists say that they hold no credibility. What we refer to as the Treasury was most likely only used as a tomb. If there is anything at all inside of the massive sandstone urn, its definitely a body.
Very little is still known about the Nabatean civilization that built this unbelievable stone city. One thing is certain, whatever their faith and beliefs may have been, they were an extremely dedicated culture of people.
Resources for Traveling Petra