An adventure, a step back in time, and an experience of a lifetime. These are the phrases that best describe a visit to Petra. This former center of trade, a royal jewel in the country of Jordan, has defied age.
As my horse-drawn carriage navigated through the Siq, a narrow gorge that leads visitors into Petra, my guide made me close my eyes.
When I opened them, his first words were, “BEHOLD, history awaits.”
I’ve circled the globe, but this view, even from a distance, of Al Khazna, the Treasury, is spectacular. Crowned by a funerary urn, local legend has it that a pharaoh’s treasure sits inside of its belly. I’d watched the Raiders movie featuring the fearless Indiana Jones, but to be up close and personal was incredible. Almost 40 meters high and adorned with Corinthian capitals, friezes, and figures, I closed my eyes once more and stepped into Indiana’s shoes to take his place on my own literary adventure.
From the Royal Tombs to the Governor’s Palace (shown above), the city is a feast for the eyes.
Petra has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1985, but windblown sand and growing salt crystals are a threat to precious monuments.
In fact, during an event held on July 7, 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal, Petra was designated one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
If I had available funds, I’d provide them in a heartbeat to preserve structures steeped in a country rich in history. In Petra nature, culture, and archaeology/geology blend together to form a magnificent whole.
While plot and character have a major role in all novels, setting is often the muse that fires our imagination.