Jordània, dia 4: visita a Petra, un somni fet realitat (31 de desembre de 2017) (I)


Avui és el darrer dia de l’any. I per no canviar gaire els costums de la majoria de dies de l’any que fineix, matino. El dia de l’home del sac, de l’home dels nassos, es presenta molt intens. Després de preparar quatre coses a l’habitació de l’hotel, baixem a esmorzar. El bufet està prou bé i compartim taula amb més gent del viatge, com un matrimoni de Madrid amb els quatre fills i també una noia basca.
Un cop l’estómac ple, i tot just quan el dia comença, ja agafem carrer avall fins a arribar a l’entrada del recinte arqueològic de Petra (http://www.visitpetra.jo/ ). Allí ens espera el guia, en Mohamed, juntament amb la gent de l’expedició, com el matrimoni osonenc, amb qui fem petar una bona estona la xerrada abans ja de reunir-nos tots i començar la visita pròpiament dita. Al guia se’l nota molest, no sé si per la xerrameca de la gent o per haver de gestionar un grup tant gran...
Ens deixa anar algun moc de tant en tant per tal que no quedem enrere. Però és que el paisatge i el lloc conviden a contemplar-ho tot.
A banda i banda de camí hi ha gent amb camells i burros per portar-te cap a Petra, cap als racons més amagats d’aquesta immensa ciutat.
A viquipèdia es conta el següent sobre la famosa ciutat rosa, o també ciutat perduda, de Petra (https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petra_d%27Ar%C3%A0bia ;https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petra
):” Petra (Arabic: البتراءAl-BatrāʾAncient Greek: Πέτρα), originally known as Raqmu (Nabataean Arabic: الرقيم), is a historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan. Petra lies on the slope of Jabal Al-Madbah in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah valley that run from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Established possibly as early as the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom. The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs who invested in Petra's proximity to the trade routes by establishing it as a major regional trading hub.
The trading business gained the Nabataeans considerable revenue, and Petra became the focus of their wealth. The earliest recorded historical reference to the city was when an envious Greek dynasty attempted to ransack the city in 312 BC. The Nabataeans were, unlike their enemies, accustomed to living in the barren deserts, and were able to repel attacks by utilizing the area's mountainous terrain. They were particularly skillful in harvesting rainwateragriculture and stone carving. The Kingdom's capital continued to flourish until the 1st century AD when its famous Al-Khazneh facade was constructed, and its population peaked at an estimated 20,000 inhabitants.
Encroaching troops of the Roman Empire in 106 AD forced the Nabataeans to surrender. The Romans annexed and renamed the Kingdom to Arabia Petraea. Petra's importance declined as sea trade routes emerged, and after a 363 earthquake destroyed many structures. The Byzantine Era witnessed the construction of several Christian churches. By 700, the city became an abandoned place where only a handful of nomads grazed goats. It remained an unknown place until it was rediscovered by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812, sparking renewed interest in the city.
The city is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. Another name for Petra is the Rose City due to the color of the stone out of which it is carved. It is a symbol of Jordan, as well as Jordan's most-visited tourist attraction. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. UNESCO has described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage".
Pliny the Elder and other writers identify Petra as the capital of the Tadeanos and the center of their caravan trade. Enclosed by towering rocks and watered by a perennial stream, Petra not only possessed the advantages of a fortress, but controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza in the west, to Bosra and Damascus in the north, to Aqaba and Leuce Come on the Red Sea, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf.
Excavations have demonstrated that it was the ability of the Nabataeans to control the water supply that led to the rise of the desert city, creating an artificial oasis. The area is visited by flash floods, and archaeological evidence demonstrates the Nabataeans controlled these floods by the use of damscisterns and water conduits. These innovations stored water for prolonged periods of drought and enabled the city to prosper from its sale.
In ancient times, Petra might have been approached from the south on a track leading across the plain of Petra, around Jabal Haroun ("Aaron's Mountain"), the location of the Tomb of Aaron, said to be the burial-place of Aaron, brother of Moses. Another approach was possibly from the high plateau to the north. Today, most modern visitors approach the site from the east. The impressive eastern entrance leads steeply down through a dark, narrow gorge (in places only 3–4 m (9.8–13.1 ft) wide) called the Siq ("the shaft"), a natural geological feature formed from a deep split in the sandstone rocks and serving as a waterway flowing into Wadi Musa. At the end of the narrow gorge stands Petra's most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh (popularly known as and meaning "the Treasury"), hewn into the sandstone cliff. While remaining in remarkably preserved condition, the face of the structure is marked by hundreds of bullet holes made by the local Bedouin tribes that hoped to dislodge riches that were once rumored to be hidden within it.
A little further from the Treasury, at the foot of the mountain called en-Nejr, is a massive theatre, positioned so as to bring the greatest number of tombs within view. At the point where the valley opens out into the plain, the site of the city is revealed with striking effect. The amphitheatre has been cut into the hillside and into several of the tombs during its construction. Rectangular gaps in the seating are still visible. Almost enclosing it on three sides are rose-colored mountain walls, divided into groups by deep fissures and lined with knobs cut from the rock in the form of towers.
Indigenous rule
By 2010 BC, some of the earliest recorded farmers had settled in Beidha, a pre-pottery settlement just north of Petra. Petra is listed in Egyptian campaign accounts and the Amarna letters as PelSela or Seir. Though the city was founded relatively late, a sanctuary has existed there since very ancient times. The Jewish historian, Josephus (ca. 37–100), describes the region as inhabited by the Madianite nation as early as 1340 BC, and that the nation was governed by five kings, whom he names: "Rekem; the city which bears his name ranks highest in the land of the Arabs and to this day is called by the whole Arabian nation, after the name of its royal founder, Rekeme: called Petra by the Greeks." The famed architecture of Petra, and other Nabataean sites, was built during indigenous rule in early antiquity.
The Nabataeans were one among several nomadic Bedouin tribes that roamed the Arabian Desert and moved with their herds to wherever they could find pasture and water. They became familiar with their area as seasons passed, and they struggled to survive during bad years when seasonal rainfall diminished. Although the Nabataeans were initially embedded in Aramaic culture, theories about them having Aramean roots are rejected by modern scholars. Instead, archaeological, religious and linguistic evidence confirm that they are a northern Arabian tribe.
(Continuarà)
(La imatge és del tresor de Petra)

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