Tag Archives: Jordan

Hidden Treasury

In the early 1800s, I couldn’t imagine stumbling upon the famous rock-cut architecture of PetraJordan while wandering through the deserts of the Middle East.

In 1812 the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt did just that.

Burckhardt was living in Syria at the time and had heard locals talk of an ancient rose-colored city not far from where he was. In 1812 he set out and “discovered” the ancient trade mecca which had been forgotten about for nearly 1,000 years. Given the sheer awesomeness of walking up to the historical site now days, I couldn’t imagine doing it then. We have all seen pictures of the ancient city carved into the side of a mountain, or we’ve watched movies (Indiana Jones comes to mind) which were set there as well. However, in 1812, being the first European to walk down the narrow Siq and see The Treasury unveil itself had to be a pretty spectacular experience.

(1613) 0206.

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The Monastery of Petra Jordan

This is sort of a weird picture.

The table and chairs only reach about a foot off of the ground. Because of the distance between them and The Monastery, it can easily look like a doll-sized house in the background, when in fact, the door of The Monastery stands at 60 feet tall.

El Deir (“The Monastery”) is located in Petra, Jordan. When hiking to the 2,000 year-old historical site (the farthest site from the park’s entrance), the trail doubles back-and-forth quite a bit. Some parts of the trail are flat, others involve giant steps that require a bit of effort when navigating them.

In our case, my friend and I were one of the first to arrive at The Monastery for the day. Having the place to ourselves was awesome. We explored the giant ruins and tried to imagine what life was like, back in 1812 when a Swiss explorer found and introduced it.

Since The Monastery is farthest historical site located from the entrance to the archaeological park, there is a small snack shop nearby. Bottles of water, candy bars, and other snack items are available for a hefty mark-up. These small tables and chairs are placed around so if you’d like to enjoy a cup of tea on top of a mountain in remote Jordan, you can do just that.

February 2006. (1720)

Posted in Travel Also tagged |