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Joshua | profile | all galleries >> Petra, Jordan tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Petra, Jordan

Although it is not the only attraction but, by far, Petra is the most visited spot in Jordan. No wonder that a visit to Jordan would be unthinkable without visiting Petra. In addition, we also visited Madaba, where a church wall depicts an ancient mosaic map of Jordan and Israel. There was a service at the time of our visit to the church and we couldn't actually see the map. We also went to Mount Nebo, the location where Moses could only see the promised land from high above. There is a construction of a new and large church commemorating Moses on the top of Mount Nebo. Interesting as they are from biblical perspective, they are not interesting photographically. Plus, we were there when the sun was high up creating harsh lighting conditions.

Prior to my visit, I looked at dozens of pictures from Petra but regardless how long and how good the images that are out there would pale in comparison of the experience of being there. As you walk down the narrow path of numerous turns in the canyon and in full anticipation, the Treasury started to emerge between the opening flanked by two sandstone formations on both sides. That, in itself, is a jaw dropping and magical experience!

So, what is Petra then? Mostly, Petra is associated with the Treasury, the most famous and beautiful facade carved out of solid reddish sandstone. Plus, the Treasury is also the first structure you see from the "siq" or gorge/canyon. Petra actually consists of numerous tombs of various sizes, theater, monasteries, temples, etc. The actual number of monuments, in excess of 800, is really impressive. Collectively, they are parts of the ancient capital city of the Nabataeans. The settlement started around 1,200 BC. Based on the strategic location in the cargo caravan route, the settlement flourished. The Nabataeans charged "fees" for camel caravans to go through the chagrin of the Roman Empire and that led the Romans to invade and conquer the city. Roman's paved roads were recently unearthed in the gorge. Most of the impressive structures were built or better yet, carved out of solid sandstone approximately 2,000 to 2,500 years ago.

The reddish sandstone reflects the sun and the reflection adds to the color intensity. I can't help myself but comparing my experience at the famous slot canyons in Southwestern United States, where colorful canyons were carved by erosion of the Navajo Sandstone, which was deposited between Triassic and Jurassic Periods (approximately 140-180 million years old). You can view images from the slot canyons here: http://www.pbase.com/ageojo/slot_canyon . By comparison, the sandstone is Petra is significantly older and it represents some of the oldest exposed sandstone on Earth (Cambrian and Ordovician sandstone that is 450-550 million years old). In contrast to the much younger sandstone formation of the slot canyons in the US, the presence of prevalent banding of various colors in the sandstone, which are reported to represent actual bedding surfaces, here in Petra was noticeable to the naked eyes.

Photographic tidbit:
Since I travelled in a group, there was simply not enough time to really explore the entire city or to wait until the number of tourist to dwindle or to wait for better lighting conditions. So, the images of this gallery, although more than just simple snap shots, were taken approximately within 90 minutes, not counting the walk through the Siq down and back up, while in Petra. I had a 24mm TS-E lens with me on the trip. I used on a few shots to get a straight shot of the Treasury to minimize the perspective distortion.

This trip to Petra was combined with that to Egypt, http://www.pbase.com/ageojo/gallery/egypt , and Israel, http://www.pbase.com/ageojo/israel . I took 2 zoom and 2 prime lenses with a Canon full frame body on this trip. In total, I took approximately 3,500 images, including the stay in Paris. The most used lens was my 16-35mm f/2.8 Mark II with which I took more than 2,000 images. The other zoom lens, a 70-200mm f/2.8 Mark II, some in combination with a 1.4X TC, was used to take approximately 700 images. Out of the primes lenses, I used my 50mm f/1.2 for some 550 shots and the 24mm TS-E Mark II lens for slightly over 100 shots and mostly in Paris on the way over to the Middle East.

Thank you for visiting my gallery. Please feel free to leave your comments on the gallery or images you see fit.

Two Recent Nabataeans Soldiers
Two "Recent" Nabataeans Soldiers
Horse Cart Carrying Tourists
Horse Cart Carrying Tourists
Remains of Carved Camel Caravan
Remains of Carved Camel Caravan
Close-up
Close-up
Part of Irrigation Drainage Along the Siq
Part of Irrigation Drainage Along the Siq
Selling Postcards
Selling Postcards
Barely Visible
Barely Visible
Flanked by Sandstone Cliffs
Flanked by Sandstone Cliffs
The Upper Facade of the Treasury
The Upper Facade of the Treasury
Vertical Portion of the Upper Facade of the Treasury
Vertical Portion of the Upper Facade of the Treasury
More of the Treasury Now!
More of the Treasury Now!
A Camel Ride Vendor
A Camel Ride Vendor
The Treasury
The Treasury
The Treasury
The Treasury
The Treasury
The Treasury
The Treasury
The Treasury
Another Tomb Facade
Another Tomb Facade
A Music Performer
A Music Performer
A Music Performer
A Music Performer
One More Shot Showing the Surrounding
One More Shot Showing the Surrounding
A Young Donkey Ride Vendor
A Young Donkey Ride Vendor
Two Young Necklace Vendors
Two Young Necklace Vendors
Cliff Showing Both Natural Erosion and Carving
Cliff Showing Both Natural Erosion and Carving
Banding of Sandstone Inside a Half Exposed Room
Banding of Sandstone Inside a Half Exposed Room
Amphitheatre
Amphitheatre
Two Tombs
Two Tombs
Camel in Front of the Treasury
Camel in Front of the Treasury
Less Crowded in the Afternoon
Less Crowded in the Afternoon
The Treasury
The Treasury
One More Look Before Leaving....
One More Look Before Leaving....
Horse Cart on Roman Paved Valley Floor
Horse Cart on Roman Paved Valley Floor
Horse Ride Vendor
Horse Ride Vendor
Demonstration of Mosaic Making
Demonstration of Mosaic Making
Decorated Egg
Decorated Egg
Weaving Carpet/Wall Decoration
Weaving Carpet/Wall Decoration
An Elaborately Decorated Chair
An Elaborately Decorated Chair