Students from Lake Forest Academy head to Israel and Jordan to study Religious Pluralism.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Due to technical difficulties, our post will be a little abbreviated. We arrived at Petra after a 3 hour drive. It is an ancient city where people have been living since megalithic times. We started by descending down a valley into a gorge. Some of us got to ride horses and got to feel like Indiana Jones. The gorge itself was magnificent and towered above our heads. The gorge, unlike most canyons carved by water, was actually formed by an earthquake. It was easily a mile long, and walking through it, it was clear why the Nabateans thought this place was sacred. They revered the area and kept idols in facades carved into the rock. After a lengthy walk, the gorge opened up into a vast clearing in front of what is called the "treasury." This is the famous image of Petra that everyone knows. "Treasury" is a Bedouin name, and archaeologists are still unsure what its exact use was, though they suspect its use was more ceremonial than as a treasury. And we got our first glimpse of camels as well, which some of us, including Mr. Murphy, got to ride. What most people don't know about Petra, though, is that after the treasury there is an entire valley of ceremonial buildings, many almost as spectacular as the famous treasury. There is even a Roman theater carved into the rock. The buildings other than the treasury appear to have been used as burial sites. They have massive facades carved in the rock and chambers inside where people were buried. The exposed rock had richly colored layers. The whole place was beautiful and much more expansive and amazing than the single postcard picture people think of.
Mr. Murphy will post additional pictures tomorrow when we get a better internet connection.