National Geographic : 1935 Feb
PETRA, ANCIENT CARAVAN STRONGHOLD lent examples of the corniced type of facade. Along the lower ex tremities of the Siq gorge, just before it opens into the great valley, are rooms with large cavities cut into their walls. It has been suggested that, being on the main highway at the entrance to Petra, these were the store houses or shops in which the frankincense, gold, myrrh, aloes, cin namon, and spicery were unloaded from the camels coming from Arabia, to be sold and recaravanned to points east, north, and west. El Khubdha has the highest rock faces of all those about Petra; consequently, at the period of greatest prosperity, the most pretentious temples were carved upon its west facade. Here are the Urn Temple (see page 152) and three sepulchers of the Nabatean type. North of these are the so-called "Corinthian ANCIENT tomb" and the largest Centuries before our monument of all, the tribes had uti Palace (see page 1.54). Some three hundred paces again to the north is an ornate tomb known to be that of a certain Sextus Florentinus, a Roman officer of the time of Antoninus Pius. Near this tomb is the northern boundary of Petra; for here the crooked Nabatean wall started across the valley to the opposite western range. A ROMAN TEMPLE ON A HEIGHT We leave camp early for the climb to Ed Der, nearly 600 feet above the city level (see pages 134, 157, and 158). The valley, Wadi ed Der, that we follow is full of smaller monuments. Its walls become pre cipitous and close together, much like the lower Siq. Huge staircases, wider and more © American Colony, Jerusalem PEOPLE CARVED AN EAGLE SHRINE United States national emblem was thought of, desert ilized the King of Birds in art representations. pretentious, often cut through masses of rock, are here encountered. Were it not for fallen rocks blocking the route and other parts being eroded away, the road, though very steep, would be passable for animals. In the caves at the entrance to the valley we usually find the few remaining families of the Bdul Bedouins living. They have no homes, no tents, the few clothes, usually in tatters, on their backs being their most valued possession besides the rags they sleep on. Often the children are quite naked. They eat barley, pounded into flour in holes in the rock and baked on ashes. Two meals a week suffice to prolong their existence. A few goats may be a family's sole source of livelihood.