Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Petra – The Rose City (Part 2)

Petra’s most impressive facade is further on at the top of a steep hill, There are two ways to get up to the top in order to see the Monastery, one is to climb up the 850+ steps, the other way is to hire a Donkey and let it do the work.

Donkey Drivers

The Donkeys (and Mules) are owned by local Bedouin who were very keen to be chosen to carry those in our group who had decided to go up the easy way. Considerable debate and shouting took place during the selection process – the mule owners earn 10JD for a trip up (less for a trip down).

Pat sets off 

Pat rode a donkey called Jake and set off at a fast pace. I (Paul) was given a Mule – some people are obviously made for mule riding and I am one of them

Mule rider Petra

The track rises relentlessly upward and on the way up, one has to pass

Pat Ducks 

through a number of tunnels,


pass goats coming the other way,

Climb ahead 

be steadfast when faced by steep steps upwards,

Climb Up 

pass Bedouin stalls which take up valuable path width,

Pat and ledge 

pass donkeys walking down to pick up another rider,

Donkey goes down 

until one reaches the top of the Donkey section.

Bedouin on Donkey 

The local Bedouin looked more the part on a donkey than any of us did.


A further climb awaits (no donkeys for this part), then one reaches the top and the Monastery (Ad-Deyr) which is one of the largest  monuments (probably used as a tomb) carved into the rock at Petra being 47m wide and 51 m high. When it was originally built probably as a meeting place for religious association (85BC to 110 AD) it had a colonnade around the front.

Original Monestery

At the very top is a Bedouin run cafe which sells drinks and snacks. We brought lunch (purchased from a Bedouin stall at the bottom) with us and

Lunch in Cave

sat in a carpeted cave accompanied by a stray cat and dog (both of which liked our yogurt).

Dog eating yogurt

Getting down was an easy stroll which took about 1 hour.

Climb below 

By the time we got back to the Treasury, although the temperatures had dropped from highs near 40C

Pat rides back

The easiest way to get back to the top of the Siq was to hire a horse and cart (official price 20JD, Pat’s price 15 JD).

Although the day was physically very challenging in the high temperatures, Petra is a fantastic place and we had a wonderful day.

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