The sandstone Treasury in the Nabateaen city of Petra in south Jordan on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Jordan 001-8

Postcard from Petra, The Rose-Red City

The donkey looked me square in the eye and challenged me to pass without taking its picture, stepping left, it shifted, stepping right, same response. There was nothing to be done, but place my backpack down, accept the inevitable and acquiesce to the wishes of my wannabe model. Several minutes later, after he seemed satisfied I was permitted to continue on my merry way, well at least until I met the camels! It’s tough being a photographer at Petra, in Jordan.

The sandstone Treasury in the Nabateaen city of Petra in south Jordan on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Jordan 001-8

Stand back and admire the Treasury

Red-Rose of UNESCO

Petra, known as the “rose red city” is one of those places most people recognise without possibly knowing the name, or even where it is located. The ancient Nabataean city, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but for many it is recognisable for the cameo appearance of the “Treasury” in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.

“a rose-red city, half as old as time” John Burgon

Just outside the entrance Indiana Jones memorabilia is popular, several shops sell hats and even whips, alongside miniature, pottery treasuries and cotton scarves.

Navigating the Siq at Petra, the red-rose city of Jordan on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory Jordan Montage

Navigating the Siq

After purchasing tickets, there are several ways navigate the steep sided canyon, known as the Siq which leads to the city, horseback, horse drawn carriage or shank’s pony, yes that’s right walking. Most of our group chose the latter, enjoying the narrative of our guide as he explained some of the most significant sites along the 2km passage and avoiding the fast-moving carriages, careering through the narrow gorge.

More from Jordan: Jordan: Jordan; Beyond Petra in Pictures

I soon got my first glimpse of the Treasury as the Siq comes to an end, the sandstone pillars just coming into view glinting in the afternoon sun, a silent whistle escaping my pursed lips. Of course, I’d seen the film and seen images of the Treasury in magazines and television documentaries, but as it emerged into full view the only thing to do was stand back and admire.

Donkey in front of the Royal Tombs of Petra in south Jordan on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Jordan 001-33

You wanna piece of me?

Our group was whisked away quickly for lunch, which was probably quite tasty, but I was itching to get back out and explore, so barely tasted our meal.

We were afforded a whole hour to explore, which seemed dismally short, especially considering my encounter with the camera-friendly donkey, but that’s the challenge of a press trip.

Even so, wandering aimlessly along the “Roman Highway” taking photographs whenever seemed appropriate, seemed the only way to absorb the splendour of Petra.

Camels on the Roman Highway in Petra, the red-rose city of south Jordan on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Jordan 001-21

Don’t forget us

Ancient Architecture

It’s not only the Treasury that is spectacular, but there are plenty of impressive structures including the Street of Facades, Royal Tombs, Roman Theatre and Monastery. In the modern age of towering buildings of glass and steel, the grandeur of the monuments of Petra, which were constructed between 6th century BC and 1st century AD are testament to the ingenuity and engineering skills of ancient civilisations.

Read about culture in Oman: Sultanate of Oman – A Culture of Welcome

The sandstone structures carved into the rugged hills of the Jordanian landscape had a shiny orange and yellow glint in the mid-afternoon sun. The distinctive red for which it is better known became apparent as the sun crept lower in the sky and the light softened.

Petra, the red-rose city of Jordan on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory Jordan Montage1

Around Petra

A steady stream of visitors on horses, camels or foot browsed the souvenir stalls, stopped for refreshments or posed for photographs in front of the famous buildings. However, I had expected to see many more, and it seems tourism in Jordan maybe suffering a backlash from the reputation of its rowdy neighbourhood.

The Roman Highway in the red-rose city, Petra in south Jordan on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Jordan 001-17

Along the Roman Highway

“Jordan cannot be blamed for where it is located, it is a safe country, with friendly and hospitable people, that welcome visitors to their country. I am keen to return, as there seems much more to see and experience in this liberal culture”

A welcome in Jordan: Postcards from Coffee Club in Jordan

It is also possible to visit Petra at night, and from some of the images I’ve seen it is especially beautiful and atmospheric in the twilight, lit by hundreds of candles. Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky enough to have this included in our itinerary, but if the opportunity arises, take it!

A lady merchant closing stall in the red-rose city of Petra in south Jordan on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Jordan 001-22

Closing the stall

The horse wranglers offered us a ride to avoid the draining (their description) walk back through the Siq, but this would only have appealed if we’d been able to gallop out Indiana Jones style. Instead, a slow stroll back to the hotel provided ample opportunity to contemplate the stunning grandeur of historic Petra.

The Street of Facades in Petra, the red-rose city of south Jordan on Mallory on Travel adventure travel, photography, travel Iain Mallory_Jordan 001-10

Street of Facades

1

Comments 4

  1. Beno - Flights Beijing

    Wow! What a historical place to visit, I really loved your pics, they look awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Matt Jennings

    I can totally see how this site become UNESCO Heritage Site. Its architecture alone is stunning. I think I am gonna have to agree with you that this might me the most known place to people without them knowing its name or where it is located. Going to a historical place is not only leaves you great impression but also a humbling experience. Totally worth a go! I bet it is just so easy to get stunning pictures there since everything seems stunning! Got to go creative on your traveling destination!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *