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#873 Petra, Jordan

Probably on everyone's bucket list, Petra is one of the most amazing sites in the world and really deserves that place on the must-see list. Some would say that it was made famous by Indiana Jones, but it has been a wonder for millenia ever since the Nabataens built it in the centuries before Christ. Whether it is your first glimpse of the Treasury between the narrow slabs of rock (lit up in the morning sun, or in the afternoon shadows), or the hike up to the Monastery high above the valley floor, its grandeur, its seemingly perfect architecture, symmetry and form and its beautiful pink and red hues are only the beginning of the wonder. 

An enormous city complete with large ampitheatre, houses, government buildings, temples, and other structures, it was no doubt also filled with many temporary structures that form puzzle pieces long gone. The wind has softened many a line, fires lit by sheltering Bedouin have colored many a ceiling, and pathways have changed and been worn by many a donkey. It is beautiful architecture in its own right, but its magnificence is in that instead of being built up, it has been carved out of sold rock, and to enter a room that was once sold and to feel the space shows just what a feat of engineering it was. Oh, what a spectacular place it must have been!

The walk up the mountain to the sacrificial platform was fascinating -- something that no doubt many visitors would be happier to ignore. It was also not the natural formations that were so important -- the control of the water supply was what allowed the city to gain its strength. There are Greek, Syrian and Egyptian influences. Like so many other delights, it was hidden and unknown to the western world until 1812 

I dream of visiting its lesser-known cousin Medain Salah just over the border in Saudi Arabia. One day, I will!

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