Friday, 13 February 2004
Pix Of The Day: A Rose-Red City Half As Old As Time
CREDIT: © Jane Taylor/Jane Taylor Photographs
WHERE: Petra, Jordan. WHAT: ancient 'lost' city. MAPS: Jordan, and Petra.
Thumbnail clicks pop-up source pages with descriptions and larger images.
Jane Taylor has lived in Amman, Jordan, since 1989. Her eight online galleries range from Italy, through Turkey, Syria, Yemen plus the island of Soqotra, and Jordan from both air and ground. Petra is so special that it rates a gallery of its own, though it is only a city not a country. Jane has listed pages to be added for Iraq, Eqypt, and Saudi Arabia. The Books section lists Jane's own works, including collaborations with luminaries such as Laurens van der Post for 'Testament to the Bushmen'.
The pictures in the thumbnail strip show (L to R):  Siq, a cleft in the rocks that forms the main entrance to Petra;  aerial view of the Monastery;  portico of the Treasury; and  aerial view of the Treasury;  the Treasury. Click the links or the thumbnails to go to the source pages with more detailed information.
There is a tradition of Europeans visiting various parts of the globe to 'discover' places that were not lost in the first place. Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt (1784-1817) was one such, travelling on behalf of the British African Association to become, in 1812, probably the first non-local to see the city in three hundred years. The archaeology of Petra is certainly not finalized, as this Washington Post article makes clear. NationalGeographic.com offers other views of this amazing place.
In 1845 John William Burgon, later Dean of Chichester (1819-1888) joined the stream of visitors that has been heading for the site ever since. Afterwards he penned one of the best known couplets in the English language, the last two lines of the following quotation, from a hard to find and otherwise forgotten poem:
It seems no work of Man's creative hand,
By labor wrought as wavering fancy plnned;
But from the rock as by magic grown,
Eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!
Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,
Where erst Athena held her rites divine;
Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,
That crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;
But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,
That first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;
The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
Which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,
Match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
A rose-red city half as old as time.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)