Place: Petra = Raqmu = The Red Rock Capital
Date: Dec 26th/ 2019
Abed - the Jordanian aging version of the charming Egyptian Actor Omar Shariff, was sent to pick us up, mid-day for the visit at the UNESCO (since 1985) heritage - Arab Nabataeans, Petra, the ancient red rock-cut architecture capital, which was built over 2,000 years ago, by most talented people, who inhabited northern Arabia and the Southern Levant in antiquity.
This was my second time visit to this one of rare world wonders' site, and yet I was as excited, as I was the first time in 2009, when I flew from TLV for few hours touring of Petra, and back to TLV, all in one day.
A native Aqabian, belonging to a large Jordanian clan of over 1600 family members, and a father to 7 of which 2 sets are twines, Abed has been working with the esteemed Horizons Tour Company, for the past 27 years, and is a masterful driver.
Since he was great and we had enjoyed spending the day with him, here is Abed's Mobile 96279968678
The posts of smiling Hashaemite kings faces of 3 generations :
Abdala the late father king, his son current King Husain, and his son the young Abdala (king in the future), greet the locals and tourists from almost every important intersection in Aqaba and along the road.
The drive up, north of Aqaba toward Petra, on the Eastern slops of the Jordan Valley's walls, and at the backdrop of the dramatic mountainous landscape, trails via the international “Kings ‘Hwy”.
This historic North-South land-road of 2 undivided lanes, connects Egypt with Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia, and in the past went through the kingdoms of Edom, Moav and Amon (now Jordanian territory) along which extensive trade networks were laid out, guarded at that distanced time, by watchtowers and fortifications.
Passing by a small Eloquera village with its homes rolling off the rocky mountainous slops, Bedouin's shabby portable structures, which nested next to stretching green fields growing tomatoes and potatoes, were so remarkably noticed on the background of this semi-arid desolate yellowy scenery, as was the round white cape of Tomb of Aaron bulging of the top of a high peak, far in the distance off the hwy.
The site is the alleged burial place of Aaron - Moses brother,
Although in Jewish tradition, the location of Aaron’s grave, like that of Moses, is shrouded in mystery, the Islamic tradition places it on Mount Hor - Jabal Hārūn near Petra. The site gets often closed by the Jordanian, after Israeli tourists have been filmed performing "Jewish rituals" at the site.
Wadi Musa City - Main tourist gateway to Petra
This modern Jordanian town with a huge number of hotels, restaurants and many signs in English, has exhibited inflated accommodation rates and noticeable unusual rudeness toward foreigners in contrast to the customary hospitality in other parts of Jordan.
This was the place, where we also met our native Tour Guide
who was specially reserved and recommended highly by Horizons
Ma moun Ali moammer Ainawafleh. Mobil 962 777579157
With an excellent English proficiency, extensive academic and professional background acquired in Jordanian learning institutes, and also at the US Brown U, in the fields of archeology, astronomy navigation and Semitic languages, as well as a pioneering excavation experiences,
Ma-moun - our multi-talent tour guide showered us for 2 fast-pace touring hours, with an alternative explanation to Petra's Heritage site,
Ma moun's Alternative Claims - Petra Site
He claimed that his explanation has now became the adjusted consensus among establish archaeologists, and soon all the explanatory signs on site and at the museum will be revised.
According to the Guide, Petra wasn't a Burial site , but rather a Center of Astronomy high learning, whereas the steep narrow high walls of Petra's 1,2km Siq- gorge's entrance, provided a ready-made natural "slit" - an enabling tool to study and code a sliver of the sky and its galaxies, as to track the passing celestial bodies and stars with the changing of times .
The star constellation which in the West is projected into the "Big Bear" was reflected by the Nabataeans in the imagery of "Camels" and the North Star and the others forming the almanac was named by them.
The Petra site is a 360 Degree natural passage which was used to measure the the weather, winds and star systems to navigate safely in waters, with 32 sun dial, watches and water clocks ( similar to sand clocks ) to determine seasonal periods and calendar times. .
Per our guide, the Nabataeans, could CROSS the seas to India and not only sail along coastlines as did the Phoenicians. This required navigation and understanding of the winds. They also used water baths perched on elevated round structures to measure the wetted zone due to the overflow by the winds to determine the trade winds .
The majestic structure at the opening end point of the Siq gorge was not a Treasury but a Library with 3 rooms which housed manuscript of most important acquired knowledge of that time
The site's stratification on the carved sand walls, near the large Nabatean Hospital structure, he told us represent the 4 local important minerals of : Lithium, Iron, copper and Sulphur, which Ma moun claims generated electromagnetic healing waves, used in healing emotionally challenged, pregnant woman, and infected people . Further more we were told, that they knew how to extract and used anaesthetic components from a locally grown red flowered plant.
This sounds voodoo , although in modern medicine Lithium is used to treat manic depressive individuals, iron is a standard supplement for pregnancy and sulphur (until antibiotics prevailed ) to suppress contamination.
Below are several resources Ma moun sent to back up his claims:
This documentary is filmed by the Australian ABC News TV. It talks about the recent discoveries related to the Arab Nabateans Astronomical Scientific Trilogy (Almanac) in Petra, Jordan. Discoveries are for the Author and researcher Ma'moun Alnawafleh
The Nabataeans Civilization
Nabataeans were one among several nomadic tribes who roamed the Arabian Desert, moving with their herds to wherever they could find pasture and water. They were literate in Aramaic, exceptionally skilled in drilling wells in the dessert, harvesting rainwater, and in water conservation, which facilitated intensive agriculture, and wine producing. They were also excellent traders, facilitating commerce between China, India, the Far East, Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. They dealt in such goods as spices, incense, gold, animals, iron, copper, sugar, medicines, ivory, perfumes and fabrics,
For about 700 years, their advanced culture, which stretched over the borderland between Arabia and Syria, from the Euphrates to the Red Sea, and their proficiency in water hydraulic, astronomy, navigation, meteorology, medicine, stone carving, military prowess, and a loosely controlled trading network centered on strings of oases, made them wealthy and allowed them to maintain territorial independence.
Since their nomad emergence in the 6th century BC, the gradual settling down at the end of 1 bc, made the society more complex, lax and, vulnerable to invaders, with Petra the capital flourishing in the 1st AD and its population peaking at an estimated 30,000 inhabitants, until conquered by Trajan in 106 AD, annexing it to the Roman Empire.
The fearless kingdom, with its impressive and well organized military, initially had successfully defended its territory against larger powers, defeating the Assyrians Persians Greeks, and Romans.
Nabataeans survived in a waterless desert and managed to defeat their enemies by hiding in the desert until the latter surrendered for lack of water. They dug cisterns that were covered and marked by signs known only to themselves,
Initially, the Nabataeans worshiped only one God featured in an image containing a line (nose) between 2 (watching) eyes (like stars) and no mouth.
According to Ma moun, emulating many Roman Gods, to whom the people started assigning all life's responsibilities and fate, contributed to the Nabataeans diminished warlike and nomadic habits, thus becoming sober, acquisitive, orderly people, along with changes of trade routes eventually led to their demise and capitulating to the Romans becoming a client state.
Roman amphitheater at Petra
Jane Taylor, a writer, describes them as "one of the most gifted peoples of the ancient world".
The literate Nabataeans left no lengthy historical texts. However, thousands of inscriptions have been found in their settlements, including graffiti and on minted coins. Women had high status and could own and inherent property and ran their businesses.Qweens often were depicted on coins.
Furthermore, the characteristic Nabataeans' finely potted painted ceramics, as well as many of their innovations were adopted into the larger Greco-Roman culture.
They were later converted to Christianity during the Byzantine Era.
Although their civilization was ignored and almost lost for 1500 years, the Nabataeans were famous in their day and their creativity and power extended over great areas of the Biblical Middle East. The city of Petra was forgotten throughout the ages and only brought to the attention of Westerners by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812
The traffic at Petra's Siq gorge consisted of strolling Camels in between Bedouin's driven red blanketed jumpy carriages, galloping horses and running donkeys, all squeezing throughout the entire narrow passage. It had turned the one most touristic loaded site of the Middle East, into a wild wild West..
That life hazardous situation required, high alert and timely jumping to the edge of the Roman paved road remains, as to escape the trampling animals.
Since the weather was unusually very stormy, grey, cold and windy, brushing us with blown sand particles, we, didn't want to be subjected to another 8 km walk down the gorge and back, thus gave up on the
"Petra at Night" - experience which usually is aggressively marketed to tourist by the tour operators.
Thus after a short visit also at Petra's museum, (since 2014) which I recommend,
we headed back to the Aqaba's hotel at nightfall, to brush/wash off all the sand grains dust covering us from head to toe.
To be Continued...