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Petra - the Rose-red City - Page 2

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The weathering at Petra looks like melting chocolate
Extraordinary erosion effect
Street of Facades, Petra, Jordan
The Street of Facades
Once the rest of our party caught up with us, we turned right and went down the "Street of Facades". This is a few hundred metres long and about 40 facades, probably tombs, are carved into the huge rock cliffs. These were some of the first such buildings in Petra, dating to the 6th century BC and are much less well preserved than the Treasury. It is immediately obvious that the Treasury is so magnificent because its sheltered location has kept it much the same as it was 2000 years ago. In places the erosion makes the cliffs look like they are made of melting chocolate (see picture above).
Petra cafe
Another tented cafe and shop . . .
Petra, Jordan
. . . but the outlook is fantastic

Emerging into a large clearing, we sat down at a cafe for more herbal tea (or thick Turkish coffee) and a sweet biscuit - typical refreshments in Jordan. Outside the cafe was a 'taxi rank' of many camels. Wherever we went in Petra, young boys would come up and offer "air conditioned taxi" - a donkey - but our guide ushered then away.

Amphitheatre, Petra, Jordan
Our guide, Murat, at the amphitheatre
Amazing toilet at Petra
The most extraordinary place for a loo - in a cave

After refreshments we progressed to an amphitheatre mostly carved out of the rock. This originally seated 8,500 people but was far less well preserved than the ones we had seen elsewhere in Jordan, but still spectacular. Next, a stop at stalls selling all types of souvenir from rugs to knives, books to jewelry, whilst some of us used possibly the most unusually located toilet in the world (see picture above).

One of the huge facades at Petra in Jordan

Bedouin tents at Petra
Above: Bedouin tents

Left: Another massive edifice (note the size of the people)

Walking downhill past many more amazing facades we could see how it could take several days to explore this large site. Every now and then we would pass Bedouin tents perched on the hills, presumably housing the many Bedouin souvenir sellers to be seen all over Petra. Eventually we came to a Roman street with collonades and paving stones and sat down for a sip of water and a brief from our guide.

The heart of Petra
A downhill walk towards the restaurant (in the centre of the photo)
Roman ruins in Petra, Jordan
Rest stop amongst Roman ruins

By now a whole morning has passed and we were pleased to see the modern Basin Restaurant which was located at the lowest part of the site. The usual Jordanian buffet was available - meats in sauces, rice, various tasty breads, flavoured vegetables - as well as a kebab stand. Although there was room inside the restaurant, we sat outside under cover. After an excellent meal we had the most of the afternoon to explore Petra unescorted.

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Petra 'saved' by artificial stone (BBC)

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