Two virtual visits to Petra and Jbeil in the Kingdom of Jordan

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In light of the closure of the archaeological tourist sites in the Arab countries, due to the outbreak of the “Covid_19” epidemic, “My Lady. Net” invites readers to two hypothetical visits to two sites that know the interest of travelers, namely: Petra in Jordan, and the marine fortress of Jbeil in Mount Lebanon.

Petra

The Jordanian city of Petra lies among the rugged desert valleys; it was a thriving commercial center, and the capital of the Nabataean Empire between 400 BC and AD 106.

In 1985 Petra was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCOIn 2007 it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

The complex of Petra includes more than 800 monuments, which are distributed among buildings, cemeteries, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gates, and streets with columns carved from colored sandstone.

It is worth noting that the name Petra is derived from the Greek word “Petros” which means rocks.

Around 15% of Petra were discovered by archaeologists, which means that much remains to be discovered. And Petra is an example of the richest ancient Arab civilizations, if the site remained undiscovered for the West throughout the Ottoman period, until the Swiss orientalist Johann Ludwig Barckhart did this in 1812, during his trip to the Levant, Egypt and Arabia to calculate the “British Royal Geographical Society”, so many Among the scholars and Orientalists on Petra is the name “lost city” due to the delay in its appearance in the world.

To enter Petra, a narrow strait of approximately one kilometer is required to pass through it, which is a rock crevice of 1,200 meters long, 3 to 12 meters wide, and 80 meters high; the largest part of it is natural, while the other part is sculpted from the Nabataeans.

At the beginning of the Siq, you can see the remains of an arch that represents the city gate, and to the sides of the Siq, there are multiple channels of water drawing from the eyes of Wadi Musa outside to the city inside, as can be seen side dams, which were erected in the place of the original Nabataean dams. The original Siq floor is paved with stone tiles. The legs are decorated with sculptures.

On exit from the second side of the Siq door, the treasury carved into the rock, the treasury which rises to 43 meters, wears a wonderful suit at night, after the light of hundreds of candles paved from the Siq door to the safe.

Visiting the site is a fact that is not without difficulty, especially when climbing the 822 steps, which are carved in the rock, and which leads to religious edifice. There, the sunset scene is striking.

It is an indication that Petra witnessed filming many works of the silver screen in it, including “The Return of the Mummy”, “Indiana Jones and the Last Campaign” …

Byblos Castle

The castle dominates the archaeological site of Byblos (north of Beirut), which includes ruins from the Neolithic period, the Copper Stone Age, the Greek era, and the Roman era, and provides exciting evidence of what the ancient cities still inhabited?

The panoramic views of the castle surface are full of monuments and harbor, knowing that the distributed monuments include the remains of the city walls dating back to the third and second millennium BC; temples and Roman theater overlooking the sea.

On the other hand, the temple, which takes the form of the letter of Lam in Latin, dates back to the third millennium BC and is believed to have been burned during the conquests of the Amorites. The Obelisk Temple has been replaced by it.

The temple contained 1500 gold-covered vows, and bore the shape of human figures, discovered in the twentieth century. It is preserved, today, in the Beirut National Museum.

The oldest temple on the site, the Temple of Baal al-Jabal, dates from the early 3rd millennium BC.

It was destroyed by the Amorites, then rebuilt several times, while devoted to Aphrodite during the Roman period.

Many of the temple’s foundations, including fragments of the alabaster vase inscribed with the names of the pharaohs of the ancient kingdom, are found today in the Beirut National Museum.

The six permanent columns that approximate the temple are the remains of a street with Roman columns dating back to about 300 AD.

The Roman theater is located to the west of the Temple of Baal Jabal, near the edge of the cliff, and offers great views across the sea.

The theater was rebuilt to be one third of the original size. Behind the stage are nine royal tombs. Some of the sarcophagi are preserved in the Beirut National Museum, including King Hiram’s sarcophagus, which contains the oldest Phoenician alphabet inscriptions in the world. Other remains include the city’s water source for thousands of years, and according to legend, Isis sat crying there while searching for Osiris. Around an elegant 19th-century house on the site, interesting remains from the Neolithic period (fifth millennium BC) and Cretaceous enclosures.

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