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Guest Blog: ‘Petra Impressions’ by Franciso Peres.

13 May

Francisco Peres is a University of Hull graduate in History and Politics.  He can often be found loitering around Porto, Portugal, although his wanderlust carries him far.  Adventures in South America, the African Coast and the Near East have inspired his imagination and fed his hunger for humanitarian causes.  His observations on life, both the countries he visits and the people he meets, can be found here at Swinging for Compass.

It’s six thirty in the morning and we are the first people through the gates of Petra.  I walk down the red gorge, flanked by the old aqueducts and carvings of camels and old, forgotten gods.  I am submersed in the silence that is broken only from time to time by doves and sparrows flying around or peeping through little nooks, warbling welcomes to the new day.

Their songs ring out and echo for now.  In a couple of hours, nothing can be heard but the stomping of marching feet, the hammering of hooves, the guides and the peddlers competing to shout over each other.

Monastery of Al Dier at Petra (Tillman 2012).

When building the city of the desert, the Nabateans mimicked the architecture of other peoples of their age.  Archaeologists identified influences of trading empires from the eastern Euphrates to the westernmost Mediterranean Sea.  The locals say that when the men of merchant kings arrived here, they would want to spend more time and money on their sojourn in this home away from home.

There is an almost-Greek amphitheatre, the almost-Roman arches…

Two thousand, two hundred years later, the Swiss and American hotels serving continental breakfasts, the rooftop bars for the affluent and the basement pubs for the British all continue, I suppose, the original principle.

But the Greeks have run out of money and the Romans seem to be heading that very same way.