"a rose red city half as old as time" Petra by Dean Burgon (Burgon 1845)
Nothing prepares you for Petra, it just has to be seen to be believed. The journey from Aqaba, through the Wadi Mosa (Valley of Moses) where Moses led the Israelites, is in itself an outstanding trip, but then you arrive at Petra, the UNESCO World Heritage site, to enjoy one of the most fabulous experiences imaginable. (Jordan Tourism Board 2011)
The Nabatean Arabs began carving this vast, unique city into sheer rock more than 2000 years ago, and despite the ravages of time there are still some 500 fabulous tombs, and building facades to see. (Jordan Tourism Board 2011)
Arab horse and carriage
Wild horses, white hot desert
As you step out of your air-conditioned vehicle you are suddenly in desert conditions the air is desperately hot, dry and sandy. Available for hire Arab horses gallop with turbanned riders astride, robes flying in the wind.
Do NOT, says the guidebook, do NOT ride on one of these - they are dangerous, so you politely tell the owner not now thank you, and choose to walk, BUT, you will think differently on the way back. (Hudson 2011). Galloping horses pass with petrified tourists hanging on for dear life, and others charge past pulling carts - their elderly tourist cargo almost in tears of terror.
The magical Siq
Suddenly you are at the opening of the Siq, the only passage into Petra, mysterious and beautiful this very narrow gorge towering 80 metres above you blocks out the sun with sandstone walls of every shade from pale pink through to rose red. (Jordan Tourism Board 2011)
The Siq is shady and cool, and as you begin your journey it twists and turns for a kilometre, intriguing and magical, the ultimate mystery tour. . At the end of your walk through the Siq (Bahn 2008) your once in a lifetime experience begins with your first unforgettable sighting of the wonders of Petra.