Jordan- Little Petra
I was excited to see the rose red, ancient city of Petra in general, but horseback riding through Little Petra, an off the beaten path outcrop of the expansive ancient city, had a special significance. I rode with Ibrahim, my local English speaking guide for our trip, on local Bedouin Atallah’s Arabian horses. Atallah trailered them to Petra for our ride and filming and actually starts some of his rides through the Wadi Rum Desert from around Petra.
Petra is the 6th century B.C. Nabataean city that served as an important crossroads for trade. Silk, spices and other goods were traded from this desert oasis. Petra is a city carved into the rocks. You’ve probably seen photographs of the ancient city’s famous Treasury or perhaps viewed it in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” starring Harrison Ford. Petra itself was a large urban center. Little Petra is basically an ancient suburb of Petra. In Little Petra, there are mini versions of these famous rock carved facades. Little Petra is in fact a “Little Petra.”
Riding through the dirt trails amid the high rock walls, we passed ancient tombs, temples, homes and restaurants carved out of the rocks. We walked along past indentations carved into the rocks for Petra’s complex water system. Being in the desert, it was the elaborate system of cisterns, dams and water ways carved into the rocks that allowed the people of Petra to store water and survive.
While Greg, our photographer, climbed up on high cliffs to film shots of us passing below on horseback, I also took the camera and filmed while riding for some point of view shots. We’ll see how well those turned out in the editing room.
Tonight, we’re staying literally right beside the entrance to Petra in the Movenpick Hotel, so that tomorrow, we can walk over to venture through Petra’s main entrance and into the famous siq.
Darley Newman is the host of the Emmy Award-winning Public Television series Equitrekking®, which takes viewers on horseback riding vacations around the world. Equitrekking is broadcast on PBS stations and on international networks in over 30 countries.
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