Petra {Nabataean Kingdom}

P1010257{The Treasury at Petra}

Petra is truly an incredible land tucked away in a remote valley basin in southwest Jordan within the Shara Mountains. About three hours from Amman and 50 miles from the Dead Sean, this once capital city of the Nabataean kingdom is a natural fortification with its position at the junction of trade routes, which allowed for rapid cultural and economic development. From about the first century before common era through the first century of modern times, Petra controlled most of the region’s caravan routes from Arabia and Asia toward the Mediterranean Sea.The Nabataean Arabs dominated the region and controlled the international highways of this ancient world form many years.

P1010224 P1010226

Our entry into this distant city was during the cold month of December, and I remember dressing warmly, covering my head with a shawl as the wind whipped up while trekking the Siq. Walking on a modern gravel path, which we shared with horses, camels and donkeys lead us through a lunar landscape of soaring cliffs into the heart of the mountain. The gorge is very high and narrow with enough light to pick up the earthy tones of rich browns and beige’s of the rocks with a quaint touch of pink. As thousands of years of wind and water have gently eroded the sandstone walls, you find as you walk a gorgeous kaleidoscope of colors are constantly revealed.

P1010294 P1010306P1010286The Treasury is a local name for a seemingly inexplicable monument. According to our guide it was not a Nabataean name and this culture may have used this most famous facade for an entirely different purpose. But, just when you think you cannot walk another step the gorge walls narrow, framing a classical architectural facade, chiseled out of the sheer rock face. To walk such a lengthy distance, and then see Jordan’s flagship monument dominating a once thought fabled ancient city is an extraordinary experience.

P1010268 P1010318P1010315
{Me in front of The Treasury or khaznat al Faroun}

The final component and most alluring way to experience Petra’s magic is with the guided night tour, where you walk the Siq by candlelight back to “The Treasury” for storytelling and traditional music. Hot tea was served in huge quantities as the temperature dropped drastically once the sun went down. But, watching the stars shine brightly under this ancient land, while listening to the rhythmic music, sipping hot sage and cardamom tea made the trek to this mystical country extremely inviting!

Explore stylishly,

Jerash, Jordan

P1010148P1010155{Roman oval forum at Jerash}
Starting out early the next day our guide Oman knew of a place on the way to Jerash where you could get the best “falafel”, which were ground fava beans and chickpeas rolled into balls and then deep-fried, served with a container of a tahini-based sauce for dipping. As we continued our drive north I can honestly state this was one of the most delicious breakfast to eat as you viewed the scenery of the countryside of Jordan.

P1010176             {A photo of me walking with our guide Oman}

P1010218{Ruins of the Ancient City of Gerasa in Jerash, Jordan}
P1010204{Roman road}

We drove about 50 kilometers or 31 miles north of the capital of Amman traveling towards the Syrian border where one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the Middle East is located. Jerash also known, as “Gerasa” was originally a Hellenistic town that was expanded upon by the Roman Empire.

P1010170P1010185           {The southern theater that could seat more than 3,000 people}

P1010200 P1010201{Ruins of a Byzantine church with mosaics, located behind the pagan temple of Artemis}

Most of the modern excavation and restoration taking place have occurred since the 1920s, and the majority of the site’s existing ruins are Roman public buildings and monuments, as well as several Byzantine churches with intricately detailed mosaics.

According to our guide the site was abandoned after a powerful earthquake in 746, but in the 12th century, crusaders briefly reoccupied Gerasa/Jerash and converted the Temple of Artemis and other structures into forts.

Travel stylishly.