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Jennys Jordan Tour – Journey to Petra

After experiencing the Wadi Rum desert, Jenny is now on her way to the legendary city of Petra…

Travelling through Jordan with Oasis OverlandWadi Rum to Wadi Musa

The landscape as we drive to Wadi Musa is stunning, sandstone mountains dot the horizon and litter the plains, towering over a sandy desert floor.  The soft sandstone has been worn over many years by rain and wind to form amazing patterns from running water crossed with each horizontal layer in time. The colours ranging from deep terracotta red to pale gold, white and browns.  The tar sealed dual carriageway road is good as we progress along, large power lines a feature following along the roadside.

As we climb out of the valley, the view from the other side of our 18 seater bus is spectacular, the haze softening the landscape.  The road is now 3 lanes each way with a wide divide between. They have a very young King in Jordan, King Abdullah II, that everyone seems to love, his picture is everywhere.  We pass through the city of Ma’an as we travel along the ancient King’s Highway, the landscape has flattened off to rolling gravel hills of brown and grey over loose golden sand, spreading as far as the eye can see.  All the towns we pass through have very few people, just a cluster of houses with few shops, cars or people.

Shobak Castle

We stop to photograph Shobak Castle, built by the French Crusader King Baldwin I in AD1115. This is one of the four castles built to control trade routes and protect the holy land. From here the Jordan Valley lies approximately 50kms away and leads to Jerusalem about 70-75kms away.  I ask Ibrahim, our guide, why there are so few people in the towns and villages, he said not many live there these days as all the trees are gone, mainly apple, and there is no rain = no water.

Oasis Overland group at the Monastery in PetraThe rock-hewn city of Petra

In Greek the word Petra means ‘The Rock’.  Petra enjoyed a very rich Nabataean civilization boasting great engineers that were able to provide water from the spring to great distances via channels carved into the sandstone rock and building dams to hold vast quantities.  In 1812 the rediscovery of Petra was known around the world, up until then it had been lost to the Europeans and the King of Jordan wanted to keep it that way as he suspected it would contain priceless treasures.

Petra by night attracts many tourists and is an experience not to be missed as you walk the candlelit Siq to the Treasury.  Once there everyone is seated on mats and given a steaming cup of herbal tea, as you listen to the classical Arabic music and song, as this fades it is replaced by a lone ‘gasabah’ (flute) player echoing eerily around the sandstone walls.

Next on Jenny’s Jordan Tour… exploring the rock-hewn city of Petra!

Read Jenny’s previous entry – Wadi Rum

You can explore Jordan on our 14 day or 18 day Egypt & Jordan Explorers

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