Virtuoso Life - September/October 2017 - 189
Amman and the Red Sea, Petra is one of
the unimaginable treasures that Haddad
exclaimed over at the winery. Hidden amid
a sandstone outcrop like melted copper
candles, the lost city crouches in crackling
mountains that plunge northwestward to
the lowest spot on earth. The Nabateans,
desert-dwelling nomadic Arabs, settled the
location some 300 years before Christ, likely
for its defensible canyons and freshwater
springs. Predating Angkor Wat and Mesa
Verde by a thousand years, it's a cross between both, with gymnasium-size chambers
and columned facades sculpted from soaring
cliffs. In the coming days, we'll persist south
to Wadi Rum's sandstone domes, then circle
north for a dip in the Dead Sea, where you
don't so much swim as skitter across the surface like a fishing bobber, but everything else
we'll see and do will pale relative to Petra.
Most travelers enter through the Siq, a
three-quarter-mile-long slot canyon in the
sandstone cliffs that's like a slice cut by a
mighty plow. The walls rise some 260 feet
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