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Jordan - Petra - Rose red city - Ghosts of Present & Past in Petra Siq | by © Lucie Debelkova /
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Jordan - Petra - Rose red city - Ghosts of Present & Past in Petra Siq

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The City of Petra was hidden in the mountains of Jordan for thousands of years when a young Swiss explorer Johan Ludwig Burckhardt rediscovered it in 1812. Temples, tombs, and other buildings are all carved out of the sandstone cliffs, which also gives it the name the "rose red city"


You reach the ancient city of Petra it by going through a narrow corridor in a mountain of rock. This corridor is about a mile long and just wide enough to fit a small truck - although most people go through on horseback or on foot. When you emerge, you enter a little hidden valley, which is mountain-locked. Petra was a perfect location for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in part because of its rich sense of history. It was famous around the time of Christ for being the only way through those mountains, and traders bringing back silk from China to Europe often traveled through there. Back then, the people of Petra charged a fee-and of course became quite rich. The valley is a mile long, and more than thirty temples line the canyon sides. The temple that was used was right opposite the narrow opening. Many of these temples or tombs go back to about 600 B.C., but the particular one they used was built around the time of Christ. Nobody knows for sure what it was used for. Behind the temple face are a few small, square rooms, which are completely empty. Whatever they held was stolen long ago. It's quite an incredible place - like a tenth wonder of the world." The Siq twists and turns, the high walls all but shutting out the early morning sunlight, until abruptly, through a cleft in the rock , the first glimpse of the city of Petra can be seen.


The Shiq is a great cleft in the earth, formed in the hazy depths of the geological past by the same earthquake activity that has plagued the area ever since. Its narrow, winding route through the lofty cliffs which protect the site on the east remains one of the great experiences for the visitor today, and is probably responsible for the belief that it was here that Moses struck the rock to secure water for his wandering people after the flight from Egypt - the first of the Moses-linked stories now associated with the whole Petra Basin.


When you visit such a popular place as Petra surely is, you always face the issue to come up with some original view of the place. I hope I managed to come with less traditional view with this result of the stillness of rocks and the motion of the horse and the cart.


Canon 5D Mark II, f/4.0, 0.05 sec (1/20), ISO 320, 17 mm


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Taken on February 26, 2009