New 7 Wonders Profile-Petra, Jordan

The new seven wonders campaign is quite simply about places like Petra. Petra is the epitome of what a wonder of the world is and should be. It is mysterious and awesome. It strikes your nerves and awakens your curiosty. It is the coolest buildup of any wonder on the list. You have to walk for nearly a half hour to get to see the main structures and there is no peeking like at most wonders. You can’t see it until you do and then you can’t take your eyes off of it. Petra is truly amazing and along with the Pyramids, my favorite of the new wonder finalists. The following is an excerpt from a story I wrote a few years ago that has been published around the world and will appear in geography textbooks in Canada this fall.

I wish I was more poetic, to be able to aptly describe what the opening walk in Petra is like, but I will try my best. Entering the city, you first see various different sculptures and carvings along the road that winds into a mountain. As you enter the Siq, it seems like you are walking aimlessly for a very long time. After about 20 minutes or so you see an opening in the narrow slit in the Siq. As you approach the ending the narrow gash gets wider and more and more light shows itself and the temperature starts to get hotter as your heart starts to beat heavier. Finally as you are about to exit the pass you are blinded by the rush of light and as you clear your eyes and continue walking out the tunnel you are greeted by the single most amazing site ever concocted by mankind. Right there in front of you is the Treasury, Petra’s most famous and magnificent structure.

Made famous to the modern world in the third Indiana Jones film, the Treasury has been looming in the middle of these mountains for centuries. It is a perfectly constructed, pillared building carved into the side of a flat mountain. It is majestic, worthy of being called the Treasury to fittingly store all the city’s riches and treasures. Standing at the base of it, next to hundreds of other mystified tourists, is truly surreal because you don’t notice a single other person around you. I could not take my eyes off this structure carved into this mountain in the middle of absolutely nowhere. To see Petra is to realize that at one point it was the preeminent spice trading post for Europe and Asia. Petra’s importance is glorified by the sheer size of the city and the great lengths the people went to make it so metropolitan. The city contains an amphitheater and many other civic buildings as well.

Way up at the top of a three hour hike up a mountain there is the monastery where the Bedouins still live, selling their crafts to infatuated tourists. The red rocks of Petra gleam in the hot afternoon sun where camels and donkeys may be the preferred mode of transport. We rode donkeys up a steep part in the mountain to the monastery. At one point we were alone with the donkeys and we yelled to the guide, “what we should do?” The guide replied, “The donkeys know where they are going.” That was truly reassuring to me because I never had to rely on an ass before to get me up a hill where one slip could mean death. However, as it usually does, everything worked out well and it once again proved that a dumb ass is still smarter than the dumbest tourist, which in this case was me, for questioning the guide or the donkey on their home turf.

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  1. Blockhead Jr says

    Petra is the number one wonder of the world. I have seen all of them and none compare to Petra. I disagree with you about the Pyramids being equal to Petra. The only two of the finalists that can compare are Angkor Wat and Easter Island. The Pyramids are great but they are so commericalized now. There are so many tourists that it is unbearable. There is a pizza hut at the base of the Pyramids.

  2. The pyramids are a little too commercialized, but that will never take away the size and mystery surrounding them. Ankor and Petra were just as amazing, don’t think I could ever pick a favorite… Maybe Easter Island will come through once I make it out there.

  3. put some pictures.

  4. this is the best pitche of petra that i have seen

  5. Petra, is wonderfull place, real joy and Amusement place on this world Every one should go there.

  6. Wonderful views at Petra , while your there you can do Petra by Night its amazing .

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