Photographer's Note

My version of the past in Petra...

Still in the Siq gorge of Petra. It took me two years to upload these photos and now I'm stuck...


This is Petra's most dramatic and awe-inspiring natural feature – the Siq gorge. It's the classical entrance to the amazing ancient city of Petra in Jordan. The path goes through these dramatic cliffs into the heart of the mountain and Petra is invisible until you're almost upon it.

The Siq was formed when tectonic forces split the mountain in two. The waters of the Wadi Musa subsequently found their way into the fault, laying a bed of gravel and eroding the sharp corners into curves as smooth as eggshell, helped by the cool winds that blow in your face all the way down. The path along the wadi bed twists and turns between high, bizarrely eroded sandstone cliffs for 1200m, sometimes widening to form broad, sunlit open spaces in the echoing heart of the mountain, dotted with a tree or two and cut through by the cries of birds; in other places, the looming 150-metre-high walls close in to little more than a couple of metres apart, blocking out sound, warmth and even daylight. All the way down, high, narrow wadis feed in from either side, most of them blocked by modern dams (often set back to show the remains of the original Nabatean dams) to limit both flood danger and unauthorized exploration: once you're in the Siq, the only way is onward or backward. Dotted along the walls at many points are small votive niches, some Greek-style with pediments, others with mini god-blocks. After about 350m, a small shrine has been carved on the downhill side of a freestanding outcrop of rock, with two god-blocks, the larger of which is carved with eyes and a nose. A little further on, on the left-hand wall at a sharp right-hand bend, is a merchant in Egyptian-style dress leading two large camels; the water channel originally ran behind all five sets of legs, and it's just possible to trace the worn outline of the camels' humps in the rock wall.
(source: Rough Guide to Jordan)

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Additional Photos by Ricardo Lopes (riclopes) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6857 W: 151 N: 10359] (35577)
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