Petra, Jordan

Although the Jordan Dinar is currently worth one and a half US Dollars, I was pleased to find that Jordan is still relatively cheep to travel around using public transport and that a nice hostel with an all you can eat dinner of typical Jordanian food was about fifteen Dollars. My main and only reason for going to Jordan was to see Petra, although I did hear about some desert camping and camel riding opportunities that were also available. Petra is an amazing place. For those who don't know:
Petra (from the greek πέτρα "petra," meaning rock) is an archaeological site in Jordan, lying in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi or desert Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is famous for having many stone structures carved into the rock. The long-hidden site was revealed to the Western world by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812. It was famously described as "a rose-red city half as old as time" in a Newdigate prize-winning sonnet by John William Burgon. Burgon had not actually visited Petra, which remained accessible only to Europeans accompanied by local guides with armed escorts until after World War I. The site was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 when it was described as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage." (from Wikapedia -
It was quite an experience to walk through the beautiful natural canyon called the Siq (shaft) and to emerge on the other side to face the massive facade known as the Al Khazneh ("the Treasury") originally built as a tomb. The intricate detail and grand scale of this and other structures around Petra are both impressive and surreal. The Treasury made it's most famous appearance in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as the entrance to the temple holding the Holy Grail. If you are in Egypt or Israel, a visit to Petra would be a worthwhile side trip that is worth a day or two.

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