A good day for burning calories! I walked almost 40 km and still didn't see that much of Petra. I got up super early (4:30am) and was at the ruins at 6:00am. I wanted to be there before any tourists to get photos of the jewels of Petra, The Treasury and Monastery, without any people. I was surprised to find six other people walking to these sights ahead of me. It's a bit of a walk to the main sights so I booked it, passed them and was the first one there.
A lot of these ruins were carved out of the soft rock by the Nabataeans. There is Greek, Roman and Egyptian influence in the architecture. The Nabataeans had a big sphere of influence, but not through might. They repelled armies by paying them off and they earned much of their money by controlling trade routes.
The Treasury is the most intact and best preserved among these ruins. It's mid-way through a canyon that leads to Petra's city centre. Walking through the canyon is incredible. The colours of the surrounding rock are beautiful and there are a few tombs to see on the way, but I decided to leave those for later. I got to the Treasury first and took photos like mad then made my way to the Monastery. It's about three kilometers away and it involved some elevation gain. I got some photos without people there too, then I took it easy and started to enjoy the area.
The place is huge and there's lots of opportunity for exploration and hiking. I checked out the city center ruins and then Petra Church, which has the best intact mosaics I've seen so far. Two giant floor panels that are covered in all sorts of depictions. Then decided to climb up a 1,000+ meter peak to get a birds eye view of the area. Considering I go to the Rockies every weekend, I didn't think I would tire out. But with the desert sun, I quickly ran out of water and was soon feeling quite dehydrated. At the top of the peak, I was treated to amazing views of the area. Then I searched out some shade and sat for a while, waiting for the sun to ease up and regaining my energy. It's really neat how cold it gets in the shade. The temperature changed by 15 degrees or more.
Back down I was invited for some tea by the Bedouin. They offered me the tea for free but then tried to sell me some of their wares. It was good to quench my thirst and enjoy some local hospitality. I told them that I wasn't interested in buying anything and gave them some money for the tea. They refused at first but I insisted and they accepted. I asked them for a photo, but they refused.
The sun was setting as I made my way back to town. I had a whole bunch of water and ate some schwarmas and tomorrow I will explore Petra some more.