Jordan Journey: Petra

2 of 4 posts on my 7-day stay in Jordan

The next two days have us exploring Petra, which UNESCO designated as a World Heritage site in 1985 and describing it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.”

Like Wadi Rum, Petra has been used as a setting in many well-known movies. Although there were already a handful of movies filmed in Petra before Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Petra gained more attention after the Indiana Jones movie.

Since our first day in Petra was just half a day, which was good for getting to know the general layout, the next day was for real exploration. Our goal was to climb nearly every major monument or temple despite the 100-degree F which seemed to grow hotter with every passing hour. And climb we did. For example, there were about 800 steps up to the ruins known as the High Place of Sacrifice, and even more needed to get to the Monastery, a beautiful tomb carved into the side of the stone mountain top. However, we ended up climbing even more steps to see the Royal Tombs close-up, each one situated on its own perch with even more steps needed to get there.

After exploring Petra for close to 10 hours, we raced to the new Petra Museum before it closed for the day. We had a little over half an hour to wind down in the air conditioning to learn more about the ancient culture, which thrived about 2,000 years ago. The day ended with my legs feeling like rubber bands. My feet seemed like they had a life of their own, as they just passed out on me not too long after I reached the hotel, which was walking distance from Petra.

To see 1st post:
Wadi Rum

Sights of St. Gallen and Zurich

Home base: Zurich

Image: Google Maps

St. Gallen is another town near Zurich easily traveled by train. One of the world’s oldest libraries, containing unique, early medieval writings, is located in St. Gallen.  With a collection of 170,000 books from a period of over 1,000 years, the Abbey Library was named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1983. Built between 1755 and 1767, the library had belonged at one time to an abbey founded in 719. A few years later, the Benedictine order of monks became residents in 747. The monastery flourished from the 9th to 11th centuries, as an influential cultural and scientific center of the West. Today, the Benedictines are gone, and the monastery has long since been dissolved. Yet the Abbey Library remains as a significant educational institution from the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, no picture-taking was allowed inside the library.

The abbey complex

Other sights in St. Gallen

After spending the morning at St. Gallen, we returned to Zurich to enjoy more sights.

We began the evening with a cruise. This time from Bürkliplatz, located on the other end the city, on Lake Zurich.