Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Petra, Part 2 of 3: The Church, a Dead End and the High Place of Sacrifice

Leaving the Monastery (STORY) and climbing back down the mountain, I headed for the Three Churches of Petra.

Reaching the bottom, I took the high road leading to the Church Complex.  Looking back and across the Colonnaded Street was an amazing view of the Great Temple Complex (25 BC- 100 AD).  Passing it while walking on the Colonnaded Street earlier in the morning on the way to the Monastery, it had not made much of an impression on me; but here, looking at it from a distance, I felt was really seeing it for the first.

Another example of distancing one's self from something in order to really experience it.

Great Temple Complex from the Colonnaded Street

Great Temple Complex from the high road leading to the Three Churches
The Church Complex of Petra (375-600 AD) consists of three churches, Petra Church, Blue Chapel and Ridge Church.  It would seem that this is not one of the main points of interest in Petra, for although I passed a handful of tourists on the way, not one interrupted my time here, despite spending an hour in the complex.
The preserved mosaic floor of Petra Church
The altar floor of Petra Church
Blue Chapel
Ridge Church
Heading back down and again crossing the Colonnaded Street, I climbed the steps heading past the ruins of the Al-Habis Fortress on the way to the High Place of Sacrifice.  Getting a bit lost without a detailed map or very many posted signs, there would sometimes be a painted arrow on a rock presumably pointing in the right direction.  When all else failed, I sat down on a rock for a drink of water and waited for a man on a horse or a donkey who would kindly show me the way.

A man on a horse called out directions to me from afar
The Renaissance Tomb
The Soldier's Tomb (200 BC- 200 AD)
The Garden Hall (200 BC- 200 AD)
At one point I was sure I had reached a dead end.  I sat down on a rock and contemplated turning around and retracing my steps over the last hour to find the path to the High Place of Sacrifice.  As I rested, I heard the sound of a bell coming up from behind me.  A man barking out orders to his goat appeared and where I had been sure there was no way out of the cul-de-sac of solid rock we were in, the goat started to head up a set of stairs hidden behind a rock.

Patience.  There is always a path forward, though it may be hidden.

I finished my water and followed them.

What I had thought was a dead end.
The man and goat who revealed the stairs headed up to the top.
What had looked like a flat rock from a distance...
...contained a set of stairs.
Reaching the High Place of Sacrifice (200 BC- 200 AD) an hour later, again when I thought I could not go any further, an arrow on a rock showed the way.

You must approach the ledge to see that there is a way forward just beyond it.

To be continued...

No comments: