Whilst visiting Eilat, in Israel, we border hopped into the amazing country of Jordan, to visit the ancient city of Petra. It was a very early start and the coach trip up the King's Highway took a few hours. It was a trip that would prove to be worth it though. Jordan is a great country, an expanse of dusty red/brown desert that rises and falls stretching on for endless miles, hiding some incredible history. Mountains line the roadside, only punctuated by the occasional sight of a Bedouin tent and its occupants.
Arriving in Wadi Musa, the small town where Petra’s located, we joined our guide and followed him. We walked through the gates into Petra National Park and the excitement began. Nothing can truly prepare you for what you see. Neither can you truly describe to others how incredible Petra is? At first, it doesn’t seem like much as you walk a dusty, open pathway, with little on either side, save for rocky inclines. After ten minutes or so, however, you happen upon the Triclinium tomb and some Djinn blocks – ancient structures built by the Nabataeans 2000 years previously – the first sign of what’s to come. They’re impressive, but you wonder if it was worth the visit? The trip doesn’t end there though.
The path continues steadily on, and suddenly it plunges down through a huge crack in the rocks, between two large edifices of pink stone, once sliced open by an earthquake. Along the path, you begin to catch remnants of ancient reliefs, carvings, cobbled flooring, and an ancient water irrigation system, as you marvel at the incredible gorge that nature created.
Suddenly, without warning, the path ends and that’s when your visit to Petra really begins. At the end of this gorge stands the impressive El Khasneh (The Treasury). An ancient temple built by the Nabataeans, and now a famous historical site. Turning to your right you suddenly discover El Khasneh’s just the first of many ancient sights to explore, as your vision fills with the remnants of ancient tombs, temples, and rock-cut houses.
Experiencing Petra was something I’ll never forget. It became a huge inspiration for my first novel Nabataea (due to be republished soon as Under a Scorching Sun) and my short story I left my heart in Petra.
Petra is a huge ancient city, albeit in a semi-ruinous state. It belonged to the caravan people, called the Nabataeans, who had worked the old spice road, 2000 years previously. Many of its buildings were carved directly into the rock face meaning they haven’t been destroyed by earthquakes, and are still visible. Some are a little sand and windblown though.
Sadly, not all the city survived though and the central part is fairly ruinous, but what’s left still gives you a great idea of the size of the buildings. It’s an incredible place to explore, and just when you think you’ve finished seeing everything, you find another sight to marvel at. There are the Royal Tombs, Colonnaded Streets, a Roman Amphitheatre, The Monastery…the list is endless! There’s so much to see. The rich colourful rock, giving Petra its nickname of the Rose Red City, is so vibrant in places and marbled in texture. Sometimes even mixed through with hues of white and grey. It’s a fascinating insight into the people who built Petra and lived there. No vehicles are allowed into the ancient city, and so most visitors make the trip down on foot, but there are horses, camels, and horse drawn carriages for those who need transport.
I absolutely love Petra, it’s in my top three of my favourite places visited and I hope to be able to go again one day. Today the site is well looked after and protected and sits on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. It’s a place that many don’t know exists. A hidden historical gem in the Jordanian desert, but one that’s definitely worth visiting.
I left my heart in Petra is a short story originally written for the Sunlounger Competition.
Chrissie Parker is an English author of 8 published works, including novels, shorts stories and poetry.
To learn more, explore her website and learn more about her love of writing, the inspiration for her books and the country's she's visited on her travels! https://www.chrissieparker.com
I love the world and all it contains. A large planetary mass of land and sea, which holds wondrous beauty, incredible cultures, and thousands of years of history. From the lush green forests of the Amazon to the sweeping sands of the Sahara Desert. The world is a haven of mystery waiting to be explored.
I’ve always been fascinated with history, travel, and archaeology. Why our ancestors did what they did. The inventions they created. The battles they fought. The clues to ancient life they left behind. I’ve been lucky to travel to some amazing places. I've seen the Pyramids of Giza, walked through the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, and toured the caldera of Crater Lake in Oregon, USA. Each held a unique fascination and made me eager to learn more about this great world of ours.
My interest in history began when I was young. I don't remember the exact moment, but I do know that history was something I’ve always loved and wanted to learn more about. I used to go on day trips with my family to visit ruinous castles, old archaeological sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury, and old country houses. In the UK we’re incredibly lucky. The country has a unique and lengthy history, and it was exciting learning about it; King Arthur, the Romans, the Tudors, to name but a few.
For me, though it was the pull of foreign lands. At school, we did a project on Egypt, and I was hooked. I loved everything about it, the pyramids, the temples, the strange gods and goddesses, and it made me want to learn more. I wanted to be an archaeologist, but unfortunately, life took me in a different direction, but that love of all things historical has remained with me and continued to grow. So much so, that coupled with my interest in travel, I’ve found the perfect combination for writing material.
Among the Olive Groves is a good example of that. The dream getaway destination of Zakynthos in Greece merges with the history of World War two to make a unique story. It was also the location for the short story An Ionian Dream Wedding.
Wind Across the Nile allowed me to create an exciting story in a country I love, melding the plots with history and sites that I truly love.
I left my heart in Petra allowed me to revel in the beauty of the inspiring country of Jordan and its world-famous site of Petra.
Crater Lake in Oregon was the inspiration for the location setting of both books Integrate and Temperance from the Moon Series. It’s a truly stunning place!
My combined love of history and travel means that I’ve many ideas for books. I'm looking forward to one day being able to write about all the places I’ve visited and love. For me, it truly is a passion, and I hope that passion will shine through in my work and make people want to share my love of these incredible places; so much so that they will want to visit them too.
Welcome to my blog, My occasional ramblings will take you on a journey through many subjects, from my books, to history, as well as what it's like to be a writer and my love of travelling! Enjoy the updates!