The Trail

The trail of Petra by night starts from the visitor center through Djin blocks , Triclinum , The Dam , The Siq , and finally the Treasury .

  Bab Al Siq (Djin blocks , Triclinum )

  ‘Bab Al Siq’ is Arabic for gateway to the ‘siq’. Here you will see three massive Djinn blocks, which are squared monuments carved out of the rock. You will then come across the Obelisk Tomb, which was carved by the Nabataeans in the 1st century AD. Above the tomb are four pyramids (‘nafesh’) as well as a niche with a statue in bas-relief that is a symbolic representation of the five people buried there. Below it is the Triclinium, which was a banqueting hall. In the opposing cliff face there is a double inscription in Nabataean and Greek that refers to a burial monument.

  An inscription written by “Abdomanchos”, indicates that the tomb was to be used for himself and his family, probably in the reign of Malichus II (40- 70 AD).

  The Dam

  It was renovated by the government in 1964 in the same way originally built by the Nabataens. This dam was built to protect their capital from floods that arrived during the seasonal rain from the mountains and hills across the valley.

  The dam protected the city of Petra by redirecting the flood waters into a tunnel, which was later titled the ‘Dark Tunnel’. Proving to be successful, the dam thus represented the Natabataean’s skillful and modern infrastructure. During the excavation, it was found that the original name of the old city was Raqeem. However, upon their arrival, the Greeks renamed the city ‘Petra,’ meaning the rock.

  The Siq

  It is the ancient main entrance leading to the city of Petra, starts at the Dam and ends at the opposite side of the vault, a split rock with a length of about 1200m and a width of 3 to 12m, and height up to about 80m; most of the rock is natural and another part was sculptured by the Nabataeans. The Siq, the main road that leads to the city, starts from the Dam and ends at the Treasury. It is a rock canal that measures 160 meters in length, 3 to 12 meters in width and reaches up to 80 meters in height. The main part of the Siq is created by natural rock formation and the rest is carved by the Nabataeans.

  At the beginning of the Siq, one can still view the remains of the city’s gate. On both sides of the Siq, there are channels to draw water from Wadi Musa (the Valley of Moses), from outside the city to the inside.

  From the right, it is evident that the water flowed through pottery pipes but the left channel is carved from the rock and covered with panels of stone, and there are spaces in place to filter water. At the start of the Siq the original Nabataean dams are visible, and these prevented the flooding in the Siq, and collected water for use. The floor of the Siq is paved with stone slabs, part of which can be viewed in its original location.

  Aspects of the Siq were decorated with Nabataean sculptures, mostly representing gods. It is believed that the statues of gods and their sculptures were situated very close and even adjacent to the channels due to the Nabataean belief that water was sacred. In addition, on the left side there are idols called Sabinos Statues.

  The Treasury (Al Khazna)

    The siq opens up onto Petra’s most magnificent façade; the Treasury, or Al Khazna. It is almost 40 meters high and intricately decorated with Corinthian capitals, friezes, figures and more. The Treasury is crowned by a funerary urn, which according to local legend conceals a pharaoh’s treasure. Although the original function is still a mystery, The Treasury was probably constructed in the 1st century BC, However, in reality the urn represented a memorial for royalty. The Treasury consists of two floors with a width of 25.30 meters and a height of 39.1 meters.

  The purpose of the Treasury is unclear: some archaeologists believed it to be a temple, while others thought it was a place to store documents. However, the most recent excavation here has unearthed a graveyard beneath the Treasury.

The Treasury comprises three chambers, a middle chamber with one on either side, the elaborately carved facade represents the nabataean engineering genius

 

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28, 2017