< Jaw-Dropping Petra
The ancient city of Petra, Jordan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been named one of the New7Wonders of the World. That just means that it is certifiably astounding.
The Treasury (al Khazneh) is likely one of the most photographed edifices in the world. Despite that I was still awestruck by its magnificence in person.
This building is stunning for sure but what makes these ancient wonders so amazing is what it must have required to envision and construct them. For Petra in particular one is impressed by what it must have taken to support a whole society here. It is believed that, at its height, Petra may have supported a population of 20,000.
Standing in the middle of this bone-dry, almost alien landscape (the motion picture "The Martian" was filmed not too far from here at Wadi Rum), even a child would have to wonder: "how did they get enough water here to support thousands of inhabitants?" How do you supply enough water to support the workers who carved these buildings out of rock?
The Nabateans were apparently geniuses at harvesting and conserving water. History tells of one military campaign against the city that failed because, among other things, the opposing army simply couldn't gather enough water to sustain the attack.
Vestiges of these amazing people remain. As Wikipedia tells it, the government of Jordan had to forcibly evict the Bedouin who still inhabited the area in the 1980s.
As impressive as this ancient city was, I was just as impressed by the friendliness of the people that still make a living inside the city of Petra. Unfortunately, the tourist industry has eroded away the dignity of these people to some degree.
Nevertheless, if the means are there a visit to Petra is simply a must.