Tour wise, this 3rd day of our trip was, hate to say it, but the most boring itinerary wise. Especially since we are not very biblical or knowledgeable in that aspect.
Our morning started off with a visit to Madaba, a city famous for it’s mosaic art, especially for the Madaba Map which dates back to the 6th century and has been preserved inside the Church of Saint George. The map depicts various significant biblical sites at each region/country…but I feel like some of the locations are now named differently and the country borders have changed.
At the mosaic art store we visited for a brief tour, they had a large recreation of the map which was easier to read for reference too. The way the mosaic art is created is extremely intricate. Little tiny pieces are cut and put together to frame each section within the image, even if it is of the same colour it would be made up of many small pieces. Unfortunately for us, our special English guide didn’t talk to us much so we spent most of the time walking around the store ourselves.
Later in the day we went to Mount Nebo which was where Moses was shown the view of The Promised Land. At the summit of Mount Nebo we can see the same panoramic view that Moses was granted before he passed away in the area (exact location unknown).
Before our tour ended we visited another castle – Al Karak Castle. This was probably the most in detailed castle tour we had this whole week, perhaps due to its sheer size and preservation.
Our day should have ended after this castle visit (and after a long 3-4 hour ride to Petra), but our tour guide asked us if we would be interested in visiting Petra at night. We hadn’t really considered this option as the tour would bring us to Petra (the following day) for the whole day already. For some reason I also thought it was very expensive and that was why I wasn’t especially inclined to go. I think it only ended up being around $30 something CAD and we really had nothing else to do at night anyway that we decided to take the opportunity up!
Our guide helped us get tickets last minute and we arrived to our hotel with 45 minutes to spare before the event would start. Our guide (supposedly) arranged a driver for us for 8:15pm to go to the event which was to start at 8:30pm. As 8:15 was drawing closer and closer and no driver, or even confirmation that any driver was dispatched…someone at the hotel whom we thought was an employee at the time, offered to drive us for the same payment that we were expecting to make. Luckily, the driver who although was not a hotel employee -_- was a relative of a hotel owner, and an owner of his own tour guide company, safely drove us to and back from Petra. We should really be more careful and weary of strangers to be honest, but we were so late!
The Petra by Night event started shortly after we arrived on site. The event was a small hike, around 4.3km one way towards the famous Treasury (usually seen as the image for Petra as one of The New 7 Wonders of the World). As it is in the evening the path is guided by paper lanterns scattered throughout the trail. As you finally reach the Treasury you are met by the view of its magnificent architecture in the bask of over 1,500 of paper lanterns.
A very beautiful sight to see! But extremely difficult to take pictures of as the only light available was candlelight. The tourist sitting beside me in the first row was so involved with his photography that he nearly got his leg on fire by kneeling too close to one of the candles.
Petra by Night is also a show. After everyone has arrived and settled down a small musical performance was made by local bedouins. To me, I have to admit it was not that interesting. I enjoyed the hiking part and view more – and to our delights, after the performance, actual lights turned on and shined towards the Treasury to allow us to take photographs more clearly!
I enjoyed Petra by daytime much more, as you can walk much further within the area and you are able to see much more of the landscape, despite the gruelling heat. Will post about that next 🙂