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Overwhelmed with beauty

From the Siq to the Petra treasury

[Tripper: Paola]
ITImpara l’artePetra

When you approach Petra you are accompanied by a strong feeling of already seen. After all, we are in one of the six most visited archaeological sites in the world: it is so iconic and so photographed that at least once you have seen it represented.
Certainly, you think, it will not surprise me. In addition to making the atmosphere even more touristy, there are stalls with Bedouins trying to sell you everything while the guides whisper in your ear not to buy anything: - all Chinese stuff, nothing original here -.

El Khasneh - il tesoro di Petra

El Khasneh - the treasury of Petra

L'area davanti al tesoro

The area in front of the treasury


And then there are those who invite you to get on a horse to reach the entrance to the Siq more quickly. It is so hot and the temptation is there. The guide seems to see the intention in your eyes and warns you. It is always better to negotiate the price first, so as not to have unpleasant surprises later.
We continue on foot, it is better, as it is only 800 meters because the horses do not enter the Siq.

And finally there we are, a sign indicates the entrance to the narrow gorge that leads to the hidden city. the Siq is about one kilometer and six hundred meters long and winds between the red sandstone walls. Along the way we learn to distinguish the engineering works of the Nabataeans from those of the Romans. The stretches of stone paved road are of Roman origin, the water supply channels to feed the city are Nabataean. The crossing of the gorge is surprising, an approach to the treasure dominated by walls that reach 200 meters in height, where there are niches intended to house sculptures in honor of the Nabataean divinities, who here in Petra had established the capital of their kingdom.
When the walls open, the treasure is there: El Khasneh, the facade carved into the rock that is a prelude to the tomb of the Nabataean king Aretas III.
The facade hides a thick symbol of time: days, months, seasons, represented by the bas-reliefs. Some elements are riddled with blows, iinflicted by the Bedouins for the false belief that a treasure was hidden there.
The area is crowded: camels and Bedouins, stalls and a refreshment point. They all offer something, they want to accompany you up the rock where the photos are best, they want to get you on your back to continue exploring the site, which is surprisingly huge.
In spite of the most popular facade in the shots, the site extends with other tombs and other buildings, partly Nabataean (those scanned) and partly Roman (those built). The color variations inside some caves are magnificent: it goes from ocher yellow to fiery red, in some places there is also white, an effect due to the different concentration of oxides.
We take a break and exchange words and gestures with a Bedouin star ((has his Facebook profile Amyr-Al-Mawsuh)), with amazingly beautiful eyes, who loves making up tourists with his kajal. He's nice: Giulia and I indulge. We are pleased with our makeup-enhanced gaze and leave with our bottle of pigments.
The area that opens out of the gorge is immense. I imagine the river that once flowed here, lush vegetation, sumptuous buildings, people everywhere: it must have been majestic.
At the end of the visit we no longer have the feeling of the lack of surprise, the "already seen" that we had supposed is far from the grandeur of the site. We are literally overwhelmed by its beauty.
Have a good trip!

Canali per l

Water channels along the Siq

Oltre il tesoro, la città si estende

Beyond the treasure, the city extends


Variazioni di colore nell

Color variations in the sandstone

Giulia si fa truccare col kajal

Giulia gets her makeup done with kajal


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