As much as we loved Petra, the ancient Jordan city, it is not a remote quiet, place. As travel photos might have you believe…..
Petra is a popular, busy place. It is heavily populated with Bedouins hawking souvenirs and camel rides. Carriages pulled by donkeys are available everywhere you turn. Followed by – what some would call – donkey falafel. Because it does look like a similar substance.
The spectacular site was brought to the world’s attention when it was named of of the controversial New Seven Wonders of the World Internet and cell phone campaign.
Tourists, of course, crowd in front of the Treasury – many visiting only that popular and well-known spot and then move on to another Jordan ancient site. They miss the majority of the site due to their tight travel schedule.
The Petra National Trust was established in 1989 & has worked together with numerous local and international organizations on projects to promote the protection, conservation and preservation of the Petra site – the threat being unsustainable tourism.
UNESCO and ICOMOS recently collaborated to publish their first book on human and natural threats to these sensitive World Heritage sites. They chose Petra as its first, and most important example of threatened landscapes.
The Animals and their People
Petra, the ancient city, presents King’s Tombs carved into the rock walls.
Immense carved facades – and buildings – created centuries ago. The Monument lives up to the hype of Petra. But reality intrudes as you wind your way through the ancient city. Stand by!!
The mules/donkeys (I cannot remember which is which…sorry) are driven down a narrow, slippery path – surrounded by a tall slot canyon.
Almost crashing into rock walls or tourists. Or both. Scary – stand back unless you have a crushing death wish – to be crushed to death.
The Beudoins move into the caves to live – and have done it for years – while prayers take place, smoke crawls into the ancient rock walls, darkening all around…
And when there is Beudoin Fire – there is Smoke. on the walls, ceilings, floors. Don’t know what is being done to stop the destruction….
the Jordanians may want to take a clue from those in South America (and Europe) and limit vendors & guests to a certain number each day…
before Petra is…. petrified by the number of people at the site.