Sunday, July 8, 2007

Celebrating Petra

Haaretz :
By The Associated Press

Jordanians rejoiced Sunday over the inclusion of the ancient city Petra in the new seven wonders of the world, celebrating their victory with a fireworks display in the capital and dancing in the early morning hours.

Petra came in second behind the Great Wall of China in a massive global online poll. ...Petra - most recently popularized by the movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" - is known for its dramatic tombs and temple facades, including one that served as a church during Byzantine times. The city's inhabitants, Nabataean Arab nomads, carved the structures into the soft sandstone some 2,000 years ago.

The rose-red rock city was hidden behind an almost impenetrable barrier of rugged mountains for centuries until it was rediscovered by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burchhardt in 1812.

Petra is truly terrific. I got to visit several years back, and enjoyed the spot immensely. Before things calmed down between Israel and Jordan, Israelis would make secret nighttime excursions, creating a considerable folklore.

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