Everybody knows the famous treasury of Petra. That first glimpse of an ancient city peeking through the crack of the cliffs that surround it. But what you may not know is that there is so much more to Petra than just this one building. It’s an entire city that will take you a whole day to see, and they haven’t even uncovered all of it yet. Petra dates back to around 312 BC and the skill that the Nabataeans possessed is just incredible. If you didn’t know where Petra was you would never find it; it can’t been seen from surrounding areas due to the mountains. They even had pipes feeding water into the city. The technology here was way before it’s time. The first buildings that you walk through in Petra (after the famous treasury of course) are the tombs. The people that created this city put a lot of time and effort into where they store their dead, and each tomb is a work of art. Much of Petra resembles an ancient Roman city once you get further in. There is an amphitheatre and a main street with what would once have been stores coming off it. In its day this would have been a thriving city. Once you get towards the end of Petra you are faced with the 900 steps leading you up to the monastery, and while this may seem daunting the view is spectacular, as is the monastery itself. And once you’ve made it up all those steps, you can keep hiking to “the top of the world” for even more amazing views.
Petra is definitely an ancient wonder that you have to explore for yourself. Words just don’t do justice to the sheer size and magnitude of this wonderful city. If you are visiting in summer be sure to take plenty of water with you as the temperature is extremely high, and the cost to purchase drinks in Petra is extremely high.
The Dark Side Of Petra
The thing that I found the most confronting about Petra is the treatment of the animals here. I’ve seen a lot of horrible things in my travels but this was definitely some of the worst. The complete disregard for the wellbeing of the donkeys that earn the people here there livelihood is astounding, and I don’t even know where to begin. You can’t walk more than ten minutes without seeing a donkey being beaten with a stick, or left to stand in the blistering heat without food or water. And a large majority of them had clearly had their halters (often a metal chain which was cutting into the skin leaving horrible sores) left on for so long that their noses had grown over the top of it. Then these poor creatures are forced to walk up and down the 900 steps to the monastery, often with extremely obese people on their backs. And when they complain? You guessed it. They are beaten into submission. I urge you when you visit Petra please refrain from riding the donkey’s and horses. If people stop paying then maybe this cruel practice will stop. And not only that, there really is something about accomplishing things with your own two feet. I’m proud to say I hiked up to the monastery myself, and didn’t take the easy way out.