So we left Amman behind in the dust destined for what I think may be the highlight of this trip for me. Petra.
Although it’s only about 115 miles to drive we took the entire day to get to Wadi Musa, the “little” town where this incredible World Heritage Site is located.
The landscape began to change dramatically as we left Amman in the rear-view mirror changing from relatively lush valleys into a desert moonscape the farther we went along. Our first stop of Mount Nebo. Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of it either, but it is an important site in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths…this is where Moses climbed to view the Promised Land and being cast in the desert for 40 years. He also died here over 2,000 years ago. The church constructed in the second half of the 4th century has be beautifully restored by Scandinavian archaeologists and the important mosaics by Franciscan monks.
From there we descended steeply to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea. We drove the entire length of this salty, briny inland sea with Israel on the other side all along the way. The landscape was otherworldly.
Our next stop was to the town of Madaba where we saw the oldest preserved ancient mosaic map of the holy land dating from the 6th century B.C. From there we drove to the bustling town of Kerak to visit the Crusader castle built in the 12th century. The castle is more imposing than beautiful.
After a well-deserved sleep in our hotel we hit pay dirt. The rose city of Petra! Built over 2,000 years ago, Petra is a city that is literally carved out of the sandstone rock cliffs. It was the capital city of the Arab Nabataeans has incorporated amazing technology (especially around water delivery) for the time. This site remained unknown to the western world until 1812. Our guide, Sami, was passionate about the whole area and gave us tremendous insight into the area.
Take a look at Petra. I was gob smacked!
We ended the day by attending a cooking class where we prepared our own Jordanian meal (under supervision of course). This has become a “thing” that Joan and I do when we travel and it is a good way to meet other interesting travelers. Needless to say, I’m exhausted as we leave Petra for our next stop. Aqaba.