|A friend of mine invited me to a family event held in a hotel off the Dead Sea and extended our stay to nine days. The weather was excellent as we toured Petra and Amman enjoying the exceptional Jordanian hospitality.|
The tour of Petra was amazing, as we traveled the magical and vague path of history, navigating about 2,000 years into the past with endless obscurity. It’s said that Anbat Arabs originated from Yemen and inhabited Petra after they migrated due to a natural disaster. It’s also believed that Anbat Arabs made Petra their capital city because it was well protected and situated on the crossroads of caravans for spices, gum, incense and ivory.
The Romans controlled Petra and left behind incredible monuments but the significance of Petra deteriorated by 16th century. It was forgotten for almost 300 years until 1812 when Swiss archeologist Jonathan Burkhart discovered the site and told the world about it. Nevertheless, Petra remained unknown until 1924 when British archeologists began their research and excavation activities there. The place has since become a tourist attraction.
Petra is among the Seven Wonders of the World and it’s included in the 28 sites to be visited in one’s lifetime. Anyone watching the movie (The Bucket List) will understand what I mean. Petra can be located from Amman by car, and a visit to the place should last more than one day. The visitor should be fit enough to walk about two kilometers and climb roughly 1,000 steps to reach the temple on the top of the mountain, and again descend.
The extraordinary nature of Petra is not solely due to the Nabati, Roman or Byzantine monuments but Bedouins who have dwelled on the land for hundreds of years. It’s widely believed the Bedouin came from Beersheba in Palestine, while others say they are originally Egyptians.
It is worthy of note Bedouins lived in Petra until 1985 when the Jordanian Government decided to transfer them to a different location, and transformed the area to the most important tourist attraction in Jordan.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf