Postcards from Petra

Postcards from Petra

Page Type Page Type: Album
Additional Information Image Type(s): Hiking, Informational, Scenery



Jebel Umm al Amr (1066m), Petra, Jordan
Jebel Umm al Amr (1066m), Petra, Jordan


During a recent trip to Jordan, Marie and I were able to visit the fabled “lost city” of Petra. Most who have heard of Petra know it from the film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” In the iconic final scenes, Indy and the gang finally discover the Holy Grail hidden in an ancient temple. In reality that is the building known as “The Treasury” in Petra. Since the film was released, the site has been a huge draw for tourists from around the world.

Obviously, Petra is primarily an archaeological and cultural tourist attraction. However, within its more than 850 square kilometers, it also has a lot to offer the visitor who appreciates the mountain and desert environments.

Petra lies within an ancient river system which has cut through the sandstone mountains over millions of years. The Nabateans who carved the buildings out of rock 2000 years ago, diverted the river - via a dam and tunnel - around their handiwork to prevent flooding. Although, this does still happen.

The area lies within the Shara mountains a part of the country which is never far from the desert regions the Jordanians refer to as Badia.

Badia or Badiya, is a region of desert or semi-desert and it accounts for 85% of the land area of Jordan. This type of terrain is open, rocky or gravelly desert pavement, cut with occasional wadis.

I was familiar with the word from our visits to the Sud Tyrol area of Italy but I didn’t realise it was an Arabic word. Now I think about it, the mountains of the Dolomites do have a lot of similarities to this region although here, sandstone has replaced limestone.

The action of water and wind eroding the sandstone rock over millennia has caused fantastic and colourful patterns to emerge from the rock strata.

There are many enjoyable walks to explore the ruins and views for those with an interest. We stayed for two days but I left feeling I would have liked a third day in this fascinating place.

I have tried to stick to natural rock exhibits and mountain views for the photos as SP is a site dedicated to mountaineering and the great outdoors but I have included one or two ancient buildings too!



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