On a recent travel adventure, Trisha and I had the great fortune to visit the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the extraordinary sites of Wadi Rum and Petra. These, or course, were the key filming locations for Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Our travels had first taken us to the Dead Sea where we spent the night after a long swim. Well, actually you don’t swim in the Dead Sea, you just float. We then set out for Wadi Rum in the late afternoon. This protected 74,000-hectare cultural site is located in southern Jordan near the border of Saudi Arabia. It consists of narrow gorges, natural arches, towering cliffs, ramps, massive landslides, and caverns. It’s truly difficult to describe the excitement we experienced with our travel friends, faces covered in masks, as we zoomed across Wadi Rum in the back of our open Jeeps.
Once we had crossed Wadi Rum, we realized we were not the only tourists to do so. We found ourselves at a modern domed structure with several people, some having arrived on camels, gathered around. A few of the men began to pull pots out of the fire pits in the ground. They had been cooking everyone’s dinner for hours. After socializing and eating our delicious dinner, we raced the darkness back across Wadi Rum to our transportation. It was an extraordinary experience.
Ancient Petra has also gained modern day notoriety as a film location. It is, however, even more impressive to see in person. The actual modern day city of Petra is quite typical of most Middle Eastern cities filled with automobiles, mini-markets, and people. The ancient city is a true wonder of the world.
The biggest surprise visiting ancient Petra is the long walk, or scooter ride, through the Siq Canyon to reach the city. The canyon is long and narrow with high sculpted rock walls that seem to flow like multi-colored reddish waves above your head.
At the end of the canyon, in dramatic fashion, the walls part to reveal the Al Khazna or Treasury. This structure, while perhaps the most dramatic because of it’s placement, is but one in a valley of such structures called the “Street of Facades.” Walking through this valley is like taking a trip back through ancient time where an entire society lived, worked, did business, worshipped, and socialized. One might say it is one of the world’s largest outdoor archeological museums.
Photos taken of a shop located at the entrance to the Siq, hanging out with our travel buddies Sky and Barbara before entering the Petra Museum, a Hotel in downtown Petra.