I grew up watching Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail in awe of this city built out of a mountain. I was sure that they used tricky angles to make it look bigger and cooler than it was in real life but was I ever wrong! Indiana Jones does not do it justice. Seriously. Petra left me completely speechless. I can't explain how I felt as the narrow ravine began to open and I caught my first glimpses of the treasury. It was epic.
The treasury. My mind had already exploded by this point.
What most people don't realize is that Petra is not just that one facade (which is actually a tomb, mistakenly called the Treasury by grave-robbers) but a whole city! I could have spend a week there exploring. If you are willing to hike up a couple of miles you find the religious center of the city, the Monastery. It is a lot bigger than the Treasury but lesser known because it is a considerable hike to reach it and the details of the building are not as well-preserved.
Hugging the column so you can see just how massive the monastery is!
There are beduins selling goods all over the city and we stopped to get to know some of the friendlier ones. One woman named Gamala talked to Lizzie and I for a while. When we left she insisted on giving us each a little gift to remember her. She gave Lizzie a bracelet and me a necklace. I am so touched by the love and generosity of these people.
Marni gave this little three-year-old boy her water when she found out he had been sitting in the sun all day long.
The bedouin children are so friendly and happy. It was our goal to make each of them laugh.
The other amazing thing about Petra was the beautiful colors of the stone! Every building was a work of art because of the coloring alone. I had one of those moments where I wished I knew everything because then I could truly appreciate it. Oh wait, I always feel that way! I knew it was incredible from a geological standpoint but I didn't know why. But there may still be hope for me: music and geology are not completely incompatible. Dr. Howard Banister studied the tonal properties of igneous rock formations...although I'm not as interested in that as I am in the metamorphic or sedimentary rock categories. I mean, you can take your igneous rocks or leave them. I relate primarily to micas, quartz, felspar. (Big shout out to the Madsen clan.)
Molly's school of geological understanding:
1) this is sandstone, 2) it is beautiful, 3) the color provides perfect lighting for portraits!