Slice of a glorious past

Photo essay: A day in historic Petra, Jordan

by Flying Solo
Nestled in the mountainous region of Jordan, in some distant place between Amman and Aqaba, is a treasure of the ancient world – a quiet city save for the clink clonk of horse, donkey and camel hooves.  Carved out of rose colored rock, you find Petra, the legacy of the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2000 years ago.  My guide book stated that Petra will (not would) captivate even the most hardened traveler.  Thus I was motivated to travel clear across the world to pay homage.  The long trip was well worth it for the mysterious charm of Petra most certainly melted my heart.  From Sharm El Sheikh, which is a sleepy town at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, it is a 4 hour bus ride to Taba. From there I was transported across the Red Sea in a catamaran to Aqaba; another sleepy touristy town in Jordan. The journey from Aqaba to Petra took 2.5 hours through arid and verdant land with Bedouin communities dotted everywhere.  I had a lot of hours to ponder on what I was about to experience. Yet I was unprepared for what presented itself to me as I took my first few steps into a slice of a glorious past.  I had three hours to explore the city - not enough time. But it was a most soulful journey taken by foot, heart in hand, with eyes wide open looking and finding what I’d longed for, for so very long. Petra is now a world heritage site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. The purpose of this photo essay is not to present the wonder of Petra for that task is well beyond my ability.  My intent is to simply take you by the hand and share with you what I saw.  I came back from Petra a different person – humbled, awestruck, and certainly quieter about what this world of ours is really all about.

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Flying Solo

Thank you

by Flying Solo on

obama: Thank you for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the pictures. Romans get everywhere - so it seems.  I am not sure why we were not allowed inside of the Treasury. I expect there is not much to see but more tombs.

The distance from start to finish is ~ 3.5 Km and I didn't go to the end; just until the amphitheater.  It took me ~ 2.5 hours there and back because of the stop and go.  The man next to the musician was a fellow traveller and not me.

IHACOAT:  Thanks for your kind comment.  There are so many wonderful places in the world to visit, and Petra is but a slice, albeit a generous one. 

 In regards to the word 'kaleskeh', it appears to have Latin roots. (Caleche - Kaleskeh? Kind of similar).  I heard a Polish traveller call it doroshkeh which we also use in Persian. 

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

More than a slice!

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

I LOVED this. You took great pictures. 

Jordan is beautiful. I loved the captions. "kaleskeh" =)


The pride of Arabs is Roman! They should thank them!

by obama on

Merci Flying Solo! With all the people around you, I guess, this time you were not flying solo for a change!

i had seen the main photo before, but you really did an excellent job of walking us through the whole walking journey where I saw places that I had never seen before. How wonderful to see another zion canyon with the masterfully artistic Roman carvings.

Why weren't you allowed inside? How long and minutes was the walk one way from the entrance gate to the treasury? Are you the man with hat on next to the bdouin playing kamancheh? Merci again!

Flying Solo

Thank you

by Flying Solo on

Thank you Abarmard and Yolanda for your kind comments. 



by yolanda on

Thank you for the beautiful pictures......I saw Petra in the Indiana Jones movie.......Petra reminds me of Zion National Park......the difference is that there is no human carvings and sculptures in Zion according to my knowledge...

Thank you for sharing! 


Thanks for the tour

by Abarmard on

One more place that have now visited virtually. Great pictures and tour. Thanks very much.

Flying Solo

Great comments

by Flying Solo on

Thank you friends for reading and commenting

Darius: King Abdollah's picture is everywhere. He has 6 million subjects and appears to be looking after them well!

Monda Jan: I felt a bit of a youngster next to the fig tree, hence the picture. :)

Red Wine: My friend I can't imagine you'd have slept in the Petra I visited for there are no visitors allowed there after sunset. Perhaps you stayed in the touristy town adjacent to the Rose City.  Nice for you.

Jahanshah: Thanks for publishing this rather long photo essay.  I take your point about capturing daily life. The wonder of Petra is the archaeology and architecture.  The daily life of the Rose City is millions of visitors.  It has no inhabitants.  Bedouins used to live there but some time ago they were moved out (Order of the KIng). These days they are allowed into the city during daytime to sell their goods but are not allowed to stay there overnight.  The area is heavily guarded. 

I captured some of the life in the touristy town leading up to Petra proper.  I watched the city through the bus window and noticed a lot of men and children and a few women. I saw none alone.  Hejab is observed though our guide assured us that the law of the land for it is optional.  Much of that town reminded me of some of the mountain towns in Iran - flat roofs, satellite dishes, coffee shops, sheesha, lap tops, ,cell phones, green grocers, butcher shops, bakeries etc. Next time I visit I intend to stay overnight on the hill leading to the city and watch the Rose City at dawn and at dusk.


Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

Thanks so much Solo. Enjoyed it. I had seen documentaries of Petra before. Yours added the first-hand human touch.

Wish you were allowed inside the Khazneh. Also, in future give us more close-ups of locals and daily life please!

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

I slept there.. long story.. wierd things,intresting adventures on there .. Thank you for sharing it with us Dear Solo.



by Monda on

450 yr old fig tree sure puts things into proper perspective nah?! Hope your batteries are all charged nicely.

Loved your share aziz. (I had seen some of those places in Indiana Jones, I plan to see them first hand some day)

Darius Kadivar

Flying Solo You made My Day ! ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on


Already loved it in One of the Tintin Albums and then In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade !

What a Fascinating Place to be. And in addition they have one of the handsomest , modern and educated reigning ( and Ruling) King and Queen in the Entire Middle East today.



Thanks ;0)

Related Website:

Queen Rania of Jordan Official Website:


King Abdullah ( when a Student in the US)  in an Episode of Star Trek: