Ancient Petra – A City of Mysteries in Black and White

Petra has been described as a city of mysteries and nothing accentuates that more than seeing it in black and white.

Last Updated on 03/16/21 by quiltripping

The ancient city of Petra is Jordan’s premier historical site and also the country’s most visited tourist destination. It is also a popular photography subject.

I’ve shared some of my favorite Petra photos in my posts about our visit to Petra: Inside Petra by Night and Day – My Perfect Petra 2 Day Itinerary and 13 Petra Photography Tips for all Skill Levels.

This time, I just want to share my favorite Petra photos in black and white. Petra is known as the Rose City because of the pink hewed sandstone from which it was built. But taking away the color puts the emphasis on line, shape and scale and is particularly effective for  emphasizing the unique architectural elements.

The Nabateans were a very successful trading culture that moved goods from as afar away as India, Egypt and Rome. Petra was the “in-your-face” product of their wealth that was meant to impress. They were also astounding engineers that were able to control and divert water in this dry land, moving it to their will and terraforming a lush oasis out of a desert environment.

The Nabateans also had a flair for the dramatic. The main entrance to their showcase city follows a mile long narrow rock fissure that twists and turns and builds a sense of anticipation.

Eventually, after a 30 minute walk, a crack opens up in the rock to reveal the first glimpse of the Treasury. As the first sight in Petra, it continues to awe today’s visitors much as it did those that came her 2 millennia ago.

Early morning before the tourists arrive, it is just the local Bedouin with their horse and buggies and camels. It looks much like it must have done when westerners first discovered Petra 200 years ago.

But there is so much more to Petra than just the Treasury. The Street of Facades is a mountainside of tombs built by the Nabateans 2000 years ago.

For the living, there was a also a large theater that was carved out of the solid rock.

These columns once formed part of a large meeting area in the living center of the city, all within sight of the great Royal Tombs in the distance.

The Monastery represents the Nabatean’s highest level of building and carving. This temple is reached after a long 40 minute uphill climb following the processional path that the Nabateans used. The 800 steps are well worth the effort.

After hours, for the Petra By Night event, the Treasury is lit by hundreds of candles.

Petra is Jordan’s most visited tourist site and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. It has also been named as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. We still do not know much about the Nabatean culture, but what they left behind and has survived the eons is certainly impressive.

Thanks for visiting.