Last week we took a short trip to Jordan, especially inspired to visit Petra, one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.
We wanted to see as much of the as possible during the week, so we hired a car on arrival at the Amman Airport. First we drove north to Jerash, then south via the Dead Sea and King’s Highway to Aqaba at the Red Sea. Then back to Amman via the desert at Wadi Rum and the ancient city of Petra. Three legs of our journey were quite spectacular and I would like to share them with you.
The Nabateans settled here as traders around the 6thC BC and used their wealth to build Petra during the next 500 years, housing some 30,000 people during its heyday under King Aretas IV (8 BC – AD 40). Later, trade routes had shifted and the Romans took control of the Nabatean Empire. Earthquakes in AD 363 and 551 were ruinous and Petra became a ‘lost city’ until her ‘re-discovery’ in 1812.
We entered via the Siq to the Treasury and then took the Outer Siq to Wadi Musi where we could see amongst others the Street of Facades, Theatre and Tomb.
Imagine what life might have looked like here! And think about the skills and dedication of the people required to build such a place!
But this was just the beginning. We climbed the ‘stairway’ and hiked along the top with spectacular and clear views over the site. Magnificent!
We then ascended further to the most impressive place of all: the Monastery. It was a steep and exhausting trek in the sweltering midday sun, but absolutely worth the effort. It was so beautiful and tranquil there at the top of the World.
All-in-all it was about 22 km and 6 hours of hiking and climbing. A great day program!
2. Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is a stunning desert area about an hour from both Aqaba and Petra. It’s been inhabited since pre-historic times and is home to the Bedouin today.
Our adventure began on a camel to Lawrence’s Spring where we were joined by our guide in his 4WD vehicle. He drove us through the wilderness and guided is to key sites during the course of the next six hours. Truly amazing views of the area!
It was interesting to hear about the life of our guide. We trusted him to take us to great places and to care for our safety.
We stayed overnight at a camp in the desert. You might be surprised to know that it feels quite cold in the desert during the daytime, due to the wind. At night it gets close to freezing. I slept in my clothes under a blanket It was a good and deep sleep. I woke only once during the night, around 3.00, when I heard a wolf wailing (well, maybe it was a dog, but I have a vivid imagination).
Jerash was settled as a town during the reign of Alexander the Great in 333 BC. It has rich soils that have brought it agricultural prosperity for centuries. And it has one of the best-preserved Roman sites anywhere.
The site encompasses all of the classic Roman structures such as a forum, temples, amphitheatre, hippodrome and so on. It’s in remarkably good condition and it’s a miracle the site has survived earthquakes and pillaging through the ages.
It’s thrilling to visit Jerash and you can let your imagination run wild, envisioning how life would have been at the site when it was active. I loved it there!
A Wonderful Country
What an amazing week! Thank you to the kind and friendly people we met and who helped us on our journey. It’s a wonderful country to visit and I can warmly recommend it.