Monday, July 26, 2010

Bab El-Siq

{NOTE: We’re still traveling, on the road in CA, and usually away from the net. I haven’t got my current photos sorted out, so I’ll share bits and pieces of Petra and Jerash, and eventually catch up with what we’re up too. Hope you all are enjoying your summer too!}

Bab El-Siq is The Entry to the Siq. What is the Siq? I’m not sure?? What I know is the Siq is the thin canyon that leads to the main Petra site, Bab El-Siq is the valley path that gets you there. I have yet to research or read my tourist-y brochure. We went to Petra because my husband’s cousin was in country to visit, and Petra is a must-see even though we hadn’t yet given it much thought or preparation, therefore I really did not know what to expect or what we were seeing! I picked up a map at the visitor’s center, but Honor had it most of the day. It didn’t really matter to me though. I roamed about, happily ignorant. There was enough to see and be amazed at with or without knowing the details.

We arrived in the morning of what turned out to be a blistering hot day… not just normal “Jordan in the desert in July hot”, but reeeaaallly hot. When we got back to Amman I read stories in the newspapers that were griping of record heat. I believed every word. Whew!

Brad, his cousin, and Brian went their own way rather early in the trip. Honor and I meandered along behind them much slower. We gazed, explored, climbed on things, sat in the shade and rested, etc. We had to fend off countless offers of donkey and camel rides… everyone was thoroughly convinced that we must want to rush through as far and as fast as possible. They didn’t understand that I wanted to mosey along and explore, as the others went ahead and tried to explore the whole site… I wanted to keep Honor entertained, but not worn out or bored. She really did great considering the heat and distance we traveled… the site truly is huge. At least 3-4 kilometers, one way, not counting the climbing up temples and tombs, or the 850 steps hewn into the mountainside up to the monastery. 

Anyway, we moseyed as the others hurried ahead. I read some tour guide signs… or not… there was far more to see than I had realized. Definitely worth a repeat trip, or, if you are only in Jordan as a tourist, I’d recommend allowing more than one day to see Petra. I could have spent more time in the Siq alone, just staring at the pretty rocks. I took tons of photos, and will share them in sections.

These structures are called Djinn stones, and there were a number of them along the path to the Siq.

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ok- I have a bit of info from a photo of a sign: The Bab El-Siq “follows a meandering riverbed that flows from Wadi Musa. The Bedouins believe that Ain Musa is the spring that gushed forth when Moses smote a rock in Biblical times. The valley was formed as a result of floodwaters, and the Nabataeans carved cisterns and channels to divert the water into Petra for their use.”

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Honor loved the animals! This man was nice and stopped his horse to let Honor pet it.

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More info from another photo of a sign (there are benefits of snapping random shots of everything – facts!): “Djinn Blocks – 50BC to 50AD. Djinn is the name for a type of spirit that features in Arab folklore, the name was adopted for these blocks as Petra’s Bedouin occupants believed these monuments were the dwellings of djinn, which were thought to inhabit the area. Today, it is generally agreed that these monuments served as tombs and memorials to the dead.” There are 25 djinn blocks in Petra, around them are tombs and caves that would have been for the poorer classes, and are the earliest tombs carved in Petra, end of 2nd to beginning of 1st century BC.

There are also structures known as the Obelisk Tomb and Triclinium… not sure which is which.

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Approaching the Siq.

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Even in the heat and dry desert, there was greenery… dusty, but green.

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More about the Siq, coming up soon…

2 comments:

Emily said...

Amazing pictures! It looks like you guys were able to see and do so much.

bettyl said...

those are spectacular shots! Thanks so much for sharing the part of the world most of us will never get to!