No trip to Jordan is complete without visiting the ancient city of Petra. And the best way to first experience it is to walk along the bottom of this giant fissure (known in Arabic as a siq) in the sandstone mountains, to its most famous landmark and structure called the Treasury.
Many rush along this path (or take speedier transport on horses) to catch the first glimpse of Petra. But it’s best to prod along at a leisurely pace, for the siq is a spectacular sight to marvel at on its own.
Carved into the sandstone mountains in the region, Petra was built by the Nabataeans and then further by the Romans who added their familiar architectural elements. Earthquakes in AD 363 ruined much of the city and it became the lost city, known only to the local Bedouin who chose to keep it a secret until it was re-discovered by the West in 1812 by a Swiss explorer.
I started a strenuous climb up to the top of a nearby mountain that overlooks Petra and apparently provides for a panoramic view of the place. This kid seemed to smirk at me for attempting the climb on foot.. perhaps he wanted me to rent his donkey.
Thankfully untouched by the officials to make this path more tourist friendly, you experience it as the locals have for ages.. without barriers, and at certain points just a narrow ledge hugging the vertical face of cliffs.