Jordan, Petra, Road Trip

STRUGGLE TO HIKE HIGH PLACE SACRIFICE IN PETRA

I walked quickly to where Rayner disappeared. Shortly afterward I met Rayner while he was taking pictures of the scenery.

I was so relieved we finally walked together again. Several times I asked Rayner to stop for rest. Our stop interval was from 1-2 minutes then to 5 minutes every stop. Then I couldn’t count anymore because of exhaustion. We stopped somewhere when I couldn’t walk anymore. While sitting on the road that looked like a lost step we had lunch and unwind.

I ordered breakfast and lunch from the hostel. But somehow the two packs of food contained the same contents of yogurt, tomatoes, cucumbers, pitta bread, small butter, and a plastic of spoon and fork. Rayner only brought one liter of water, so we shared lunch. We ate while chatting. Occasionally we were silent listening to the sound of birds and enjoying the silence.

Shortly we continued walking. In the middle of our exploration, we met three Japanese women. They were fluent in English. Rayner talked to them more because I was too exhausted. Suddenly the man I met (without a donkey) walked towards us. He was their guide. That’s why the donkey did not heed his order and turned out he was not the owner. What was the point of hiring a guide if he did not guide his clients?.

The steps were steeper and sometimes did not look like stairs. There was a piece of stone resembling steps, it was not clear where to go. I followed every stone Rayner walked on. Although it was tempting to look around while walking, I had to concentrate on watching every step. Wearing special shoes to climb did not guarantee that I would not fall.

Slowly but surely we passed the path that seemed to have no end. We even passed huge stones carved into a tunnel. The more I walked the more I was impressed by the expertise of the Nabataeans who carved this path with chisels. We went up and down hundreds of steps that were getting narrower and winding.

Most of the paths marked but often we did not see road signs. Several times Rayner asked me to wait and he climbed a rock. I shook my head because he was very quick to go up to the top of the rock. He held the stone then jumped to another stone. I loved to have a travel companion like him. I had no clue what I’d do without Rayner.

 

High Sacrifice Place or Jabal Al-Madhbah

One of the dozens of high places around Petra. High Place Sacrifice perched on a cliff nearly 170 m to Wadi Musa below. Many articles I read said there was a platform with a length of about 15m and a width of 6m functioning as a place of religious ceremonies.

The High Place Sacrifice located on a hilltop. I wanted to see it but had to climb a big rock, there were no stairs and no place to stand. Bad news for my tired and trembling legs. I didn’t want to take the risk, so I regretfully told Rayner to go up on his own. While waiting for him to come down I sat on a nearby rock, resting and breathing.

 

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Two 6 meters high obelisk on top of the mountain known as Attuf Ridge. The obelisks were carved from the rock rather than placed on top.

 

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Empty stall.

 

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The Crusader Fort. In the 12th century, the Crusaders built fortresses but left this place after a while. The wall is all that remains of a crusader castle.

 

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Many steps do not resemble steps anymore. It’s just a flat rock. I kept my eyes to Rayner. I took the same steps as he was.

 

Go down the mountain through Wadi Al-Farasa

I met a few tourists while waiting for Rayner. They always asked where the High Sacrifice Place was then I pointed to the stone directly above them. I did it several times. One middle-aged female tourist with a little help from her partner climbed rocks easily. Alamak … hurt my feelings.

Rayner went down less than ten minutes later. He said the place was beautiful. There were flat stones for worship. That was it. Then he said, “Let’s go.” while walking fast with his flip-flops on.

Instead of returning to the previous direction we continued our journey to Wadi al-Farasa, the canyon behind the High Place of Sacrifice. The walkway was not as difficult as the path to High Sacrifice Place. I felt much better because of the many shady places. More wind and cool air as large rocks along the road prevent the blazing sun.

The more we walked the more I was amazed by the great work of the Nabataeans. They cleverly engineered the desert into a developed city.

Not far from the High Sacrifice Place we reached the winding steps leading down. Sometimes it was narrower and steeper but the signs were clear. These steps lead to the Triclinium Garden and Tombs of Roman Soldiers. Then the path to other famous sites such as the Renaissance Tomb, Zantur Hill, before rejoining the main route.

The winding and stunning descending stairs offer views of the facade below.

 

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The Tomb of the Soldier – from above.

 

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Stunning winding stairs down to the Garden Triclinium.

 

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Tomb or temple (left below) surrounded by beautiful multicolored rocks.

 

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Another steps.

 

Garden Triclinium

A place to honor those buried in the Roman Army Tomb nearby. We walked around the site while taking photos. Then we walked to the other side of the Triclinium Garden.

 

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This hall with two freestanding columns was used for annual feasts to honour the dead placed in the Roman Soldier’s Tomb. The hall is unique in Petra because it has carved decoration on the interior walls.

 

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Picture taken in front of the Garden Triclinium.

 

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Small shrine.

 

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Water cistern served the Roman Soldier Tomb below.

 

Triclinium Soldier Tombs

We entered one of the beautiful tombs called the Triclinium Soldier Tombs. I found many photos of this grave from various media on the internet. Now I stood here. I almost did not believe it. I occasionally take photos and move to a different side. Mostly I stood quietly admiring the beauty of colorful stones. Extraordinary.

Shortly thereafter two people came inside. A young female tourist and local guide. I did not pay much attention to them and preferred taking photos from different angles. I just heard the whisper of their conversation. When I looked back, I almost laughed. The guide did not want Rayner to listen to his explanation by trying to get his head closer to the young woman. But Rayner (maybe he didn’t realize) drew closer and listened attentively.

I think Triclinium Soldier Tombs has the coolest sandstone color in all of Petra. The walls of the sandstone layer formed 540 million years ago. Providing a variety of brilliant colors derived from various types of minerals in the sandstone.

 

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Most of the rock-cut tombs with monumental façades created from the end of the Most of the rock-cut tombs with monumental façades created from the end of the 1st century BC onward.

 

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The Tomb of the Soldier also called the Tomb of the Roman Soldier. The main facade has four columns with three carved figures between columns. It is one of the best-preserved tombs.

 

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The tomb is called Renaissance Tomb because the urn above the gate stirs up elements of the Italian style of architecture.

 

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The interior of the Renaissance Tomb (200BC-200AD) excated in 2003. There were 14 graves found cut into the floor.

 

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This charming tomb complex also adorned with wild plants that bloom beautifully. We walked slowly past several small graves. High stone creates a sense of shade around the grave. I wish I could stay longer but we still had a lot of plans. We planned to explore several other routes before the day ends.

Along the way, we met a young woman from the cemetery taking photos. Rayner chatted with her while I listened to their discussion and took more photos. Soon Rayner (as he did for me) offered to take her picture and even a jump photo. We talked and joked. In an open place, after a few turns, we met her tour guide.

 

Zantur Hill

When we passed the tomb complex, we arrived in an open area. No shade or rock protected us from the sun. I began getting hot because there was no longer a cool breeze that blew. Soon I was breathing hard and feeling my steps getting heavier again.

As we passed this open place I watched from a distance the rubble of rock that resembled a house. This is where the Nabatean merchant mansion of the first century was unearthed by the Swiss team. More and more relics revealed at Zantur Hill. After walking for a while, we arrived at the foot of the stairs to the Monastery.

 

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Temple of Dushara.

 

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At the foot of the steps to the Monastery, there was a large restaurant. Due to the fasting month, the restaurant closed. We approached a group of camels resting near the trees. We sat on the guardrail before continuing our adventure to the Monastery. I was not sure if I could continue the journey. I could not move my feet, I could not even feel my toes.

While taking time to rest, we exchanged greetings with an elderly couple from Germany. They waited there while their son walked to the Monastery.

“Let’s go,” Rayner got up and walked to the Monastery.

“Oh, nooooo!” I told myself. I felt my legs so heavy. I stumbled along Rayner. My backpack felt heavier. Every time I always thought … one more step … one more step … more … more …

 

 

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