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The Jewel in Petra's Crown. By Ian Layzell | by IANLAYZELLUK
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The Jewel in Petra's Crown. By Ian Layzell

Petra lies hidden in a gorge about a mile (1.5 km) long and 650 ft (200 metres) deep.


The City is only accessible from one side and the entrance to the Rose Red City is through As-Siq. A narrow ravine which at it's narrowest point is only 6ft 6 inches (2 metres) wide. The Nabataeans delibrately build petra here as it could be sealed off and easily defended.


Stream from the Mountains and collected rainwater were channeled into Petra by a well constructed system of many channels carved into the rock.


Arriving in Petra is an experience in itself and I will never forget it.


To enter the Rose Red City of Petra there is only one way. We arrived at the site very early as to avoid the expected busy crowds. Before you arrive at the Siq's entrance you are treated to the sight of Obelisk Tomb and Bab As Siq Triclinium. Beautiful as they are I had one thing on my mind and I was about to lay my sight on it for the first time.


As-Siq ia an impressive 1 mile long, deep and narrow gorge of stunning natural beauty. Even today, Petra can only be approached overland through the narrow ravine. The Siq is Arabic for "shaft". The Siq is hemmed in by cliffs which soar up to 80 metres high. The Siq was created by a spectacular fault, caused by a fold in the Earth's crust. This was then shaped and formed by the waters of the Wadi Mousa.


In many parts it is barely 2 metres wide and can feel quite claustrophobic, especially as plants growing high up the cliff face can shield the path from the sunlight above.


The narrow chasm twists and turns and you get to see all the typical Petraean features of the bizarre-looking geological formations, colourful rocks, agricultural terraces and water channels cut into the cliffs.


Pictured above is the famous Treasury building, probably the most famous of all Perta's landmarks. Decided to take this shot in black and white and was lucky enough to get to this point early before the crowds arrived.


As you approach Al-Khazneh (Treasury) it is quite surprising just how enormous the Facade is and I felt extremely dwarfed by its huge size. Measuring 30 metres wide and 43 metres high in such a small area makes Al-Khazneh even more impressive. The facade is carved in such detail and basically just blew me away.


The Elaborately Carved Architectural Style was quite unigue in the Ancient World. Al-Khazneh was carved directly into the rock in the 1st Century BC as a tomb for the important Nabataean King. It is believed by many Scholars that it was later used as a Temple by the Nabataeans.




November 2010


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Taken on November 23, 2010