The Holy Land Part II - by Loma D. Armstrong (Written February, 1965)
THE CITY of Damascus is a mixture of beautiful modern buildings in the new city and dilapidated, old structures of the old city inhabited by Arabs. The fine apartments are the foreign embassies and the residences of English, American and other businessmen. Our American Express guide here in Damascus looked like ex-King Farouk of Egypt. He met us at the airport and took us to our hotel. The building was beautiful and modern, but the dining room was so filled with fly spray that it was difficult to breathe. We still had Arab food, some of it very strange. We were served licorice leaves in the hors d'oeuvres. We went to bed early and arose early the next morning to see the city. Damascus is said to be the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth. And early as it was, the streets of this ancient city were crowded — as they were in Cairo — with people, donkeys, carts, dogs and cars. The car horns were continually being honked. We first went through the market place with its narrow streets packed full of people as were the streets in Baghdad. Then we went through the Arch of Jupiter to a large mosque. This mosque has an intriguing history. Centuries ago, after the worshipers of Jupiter were driven from it, the Romans made a church out of it. When the Turks took over, it was changed to the present mosque. It is a large building with many, many beautiful oriental rugs completely covering the floor. On or along the east wall were niches to show the people which way to face Mecca when they pray. Many of the people were sitting on the floor in scattered groups bowing with their heads touching the floor. Many beggars were also among them.
We Visit a Harem
We were then taken to the former palace of the early Turkish rulers and also to the harem of the sultans. In their different rooms were life-size wax figures dressed in their native costumes and representing the different uses that each room was put to. In one, a woman was portrayed rocking a baby in a low cradle. In another the seamstresses were fitting a bride for her wedding dress. Each room was beautifully furnished. There were many pieces of furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl and camel bone with ivory. There were also Persian rugs covering the floors and one room contained the usual Turkish coffee pots in five sizes. They have five pots for this reason: First, the coffee is put into a large pot, then boiled down to the size of the smaller and so on until there is just enough remaining to fill the smallest pot. By that time it is thick and black and very strong! In the courtyard of the palace was a beautiful fountain and pool, surrounded by porches and couches where the women of the harem used to lounge. This courtyard is enclosed and kept from view from the outside.
Street Called "Straight"
Later, we were taken to the street called "Straight" where Paul, on his way to persecute the Christians, entered Damascus after he was stricken with blindness by Christ. The old street Paul walked on and the gate through which he entered was fourteen feet below the present street and only the gate and a small part of the street have been excavated. Our guide took us from there to a place underground which he called the house of Ananias where Paul received his sight. It is obviously a fake, for it is only a cave twenty-one steps down. It is now a very small religious shrine with the usual idols and the usual hands held out for money. Leading off from this was a smaller, darker cave called the Confessional. It made me think of an evil bird's haunt — and if one were able to see clearly, he surely would have seen bats on the walls! We were then driven by an Arab to a refugee camp — the most miserable place we had yet seen. We saw one hundred thousand Arabs living in huts made from old oil cans or anything else they could find. The dust was thick under our feet and the people were sickly and ragged. They were covered with flies. Most of them were beggars. America had an "Atoms for Peace" display in Damascus while we were there. We drove by the old wall of Damascus to the possible place where Paul was let down in a basket and escaped from those who plotted to kill him. After seeing the old part of the city, we were driven up winding streets to the top of a hill. Along these high winding streets were beautiful apartment buildings where the American and English businessmen, oilmen and others, along with ambassadors, live. This area was such a contrast to the part of the city we had gone through.
Easter Eggs at Baalbek
On April 30, we left our hotel at 9 in the morning with another guide who had driven down from Beirut in a car. He was sent to take us through Syria to Lebanon. It was a beautiful drive through the mountains and fertile plains of Lebanon. We were surprised to see the fields of grain and other lush growth. We drove through a large and well-watered valley where the streams came down from Mt. Lebanon. We arrived at Baalbeck, a city dating from the 3rd to 1st century B.C. It was the site of the ancient temple of Jupiter, built by Phoenicians, destroyed partially by the Greeks, rebuilt by the Romans, destroyed by them, then rebuilt again, and finally destroyed by God, with far greater devastation, through an earthquake. Everywhere from Cairo, Luxor, Baghdad, Damascus, and now Baalbeck, we found eggs carved in the architectural embellishment of buildings and temples. The guides all call them the symbol of fertility. We have close-up pictures of eggs on the ruins of Babylon. After lunch we drove back through part of the beautiful valley, then drove into the mountains where we came to a view of the seaport city of Beirut and the Mediterranean Sea. When we reached the city of Beirut, capital of Lebanon, we found that most of the people were dressed in Western clothes and not in the robes of most Middle Easterners. Very few women were wearing veils over their faces. The streets were crowded by now with hundreds and hundreds of cars. Most of the autos were American.
We Visit Tyre and Sidon
Our first day there, we drove along the Mediterranean Sea to the site of old Sidon and old Tyre. We found old Tyre completely gone and the city the Romans tried to rebuild on the island (now part of the mainland which Alexander joined to the mainland by filling in the channel between with the ruins and topsoil of old Tyre) in complete ruin. We walked over the fallen columns and the walls or foundations of the ancient buildings excavated many years ago by the Germans. We found among the ruins pieces of shattered pottery which our guide, who lived nearby, let us take with us. We were not able to take pictures of Tyre, for it is in a military zone and the guards on the highway leading to Tyre took our cameras until we returned from having visited the place. We were very near the Israeli soldiers' machine gun nests. We drove past great banana, loquat and orange groves. On our return to Beirut, as in all Middle Eastern cities, we saw the usual beautiful apartment buildings and homes. The most outstanding ones were especially near the city of Beirut. We were so hungry when we arrived at our hotel that we were ready to eat anything. And we did! The evening before, when we first entered our hotel at Beirut and asked for mail, we found a telegram from our son-in-law, Vern Mattson — our daughter Dorothy's husband — saying that our little granddaughter had arrived and that the baby and mother were just fine. He also said that their seven-year-old daughter Carol's only comment was "Shucks!" She wanted a baby brother! It was quite a relief to us. We had expected the baby a whole month before and looked every day on the ship from New York to London, and in every place we had been since then, for a cablegram. Now it had arrived and everyone was all right! We were happy and very grateful to finally receive the news. That evening, Mr. Armstrong and Dick went down to the office of the American Express to check up on our trip, for we had advanced our schedule several days.
Had Dick Met With Violence?
Around 6 o'clock, Mr. Armstrong came back to the hotel alone. I asked where Dick was and he said that he was remaining downtown to see the city and that he would be back by 8 p.m. for dinner. Then Mr. Armstrong, worn out from the trip, took a nap. Eight o'clock came and Dick had not come! Mr. Armstrong was still asleep. I was not worried then, but kept waiting, thinking that Dick would arrive any minute. I was going to let Mr. Armstrong sleep until then. Nine o'clock came, and 10, and still there was no sign of Dick. Mr. Armstrong was still sleeping. By this time, I could stand it no longer. I was really worried. So I called Mr. Armstrong and told him that Dick had not come back. He was startled. Our room was directly above the hotel entrance, five floors up. He leaned out the window, looking down, and began to listen for and watch for cars as they drove up to the entrance to see if Dick were arriving by taxi. The window ledge was so wide it was difficult to stretch over it far enough to see. Around midnight, although I had had Dick paged in the lobby with no results, Mr. Armstrong walked down the five flights of stairs (the elevator was not running) to see if he could possibly be in the lobby. I had kept our room door open and had made dozens of trips to look down the stairwell for Dick, but Mr. Armstrong's trip down to the first floor was fruitless. I had called at Dick's door, adjoining ours, a number of times and knocked, but there was no answer. I had them to ring his room but still no answer. Mr. Armstrong finally called a bellboy to come up and let us in Dick's room. He was unable to unlock the door. By this time it was 1 a.m. Three bellboys came up. One came into our room and again phoned or tried to get Dick's room. Still no answer. Had Dick been attacked in downtown Beirut? Had he met with foul play or violence? The other two men decided to walk out on the window ledge from our window to Dick's window. His room was next to ours but it was quite a distance to be walking on a window ledge five stories above the street. One fellow reached Dick's open window and yelled and came backing hurriedly to the other fellow. Both came quickly crawling back into our room saying, "There is someone in there all right! He threatened to shove me off the ledge!" All of us, with that news, ran quickly down the hall to Dick's door and pounded hard on it. It was Dick! He called out, "What's going on around here?" His father said, "Open the door, Dick," and a tousled, sleepy, but startled Dick opened the door to ask again, "What's going on?" He had come to the hotel before 8 o'clock and had gone directly to bed. He was as tired and exhausted as his father, and so sound asleep that he knew nothing of the excitement he had caused until he saw and heard the two men at his open bedroom window standing on the ledge high above the street! Dick was startled to see a prowler peeking into his room from outside and said, "Shove off!" The bellman on the ledge thought he had said, "I'll shove you off." Prior to coming to the hotel, Dick had met a man in downtown Beirut with whom he had talked about conditions in the Middle East. This man told him that if he really wanted to know, he would take him where several men were meeting. Dick, being an American, was not too welcome. They expressed their views and evidently Dick expressed how he felt about their views of America. When he saw these two men at his open window late in the night, he thought for a moment they were men who had followed him from that meeting and were there to do him bodily harm. We then learned why they so hurriedly scrambled back through our window into our room. Because Dick was so suddenly roused from his sleep, he sprang up in bed and yelled, "Shove off." They saw that he was startled and that he sounded as if he meant business, so, like scared rabbits they tumbled back through our windows. After all the excitement was over, we finally got to bed and to sleep — but not Dick. He said he got no more sleep the rest of the night. On Wednesday morning, we went through the museum at Beirut. All the museums in all the ancient cities are an education. Although we saw them all, the most outstanding in our memory is the Cairo Museum with its immense amount of loot taken from King Tut-Ank-Amon's tomb. We left Beirut after lunch to fly to Amman, the capital of the kingdom of Jordan. Our plane stopped for twenty minutes at Jerusalem, at the airport on the Arab side of the city. It is not a long flight from Jerusalem but after all the flying we had done. I still gave a sigh of relief when I felt the first bump of the wheels of the plane touch the runway. Again, an American Express agent, named Yasser, met us at the airport and took us to our hotel. Then came a surprise.
When we were in Baalbeck, a number of tourists were there walking over the ruins of the temples and among them was a tall, austere, gray-haired American lady with a cane, traveling alone. A guide was showing her around — and receiving such a torrent of complaint! She scolded him because there was no railing built on the steep stair leading to a lower level and she criticized the people and everything else she could think of When we reached the hotel in Amman, here was the same woman. She came up to us and our guide and loudly complained about the staff there in the hotel. Yasser asked her what they had done to displease her. She replied they had heckled her. All the clerks were sullenly listening to her and we had felt the antagonism to Americans in a most direct manner. We noticed this in a number of places. We became quite concerned listening to her tirade, but all we could do was to walk away and leave her.
On to the Rose-red City of Rock
Yasser soon followed us and we made our plans for the next day — our longed-for trip to Petra. Yasser told us we would leave the hotel at 6 in the morning by car. We went to sleep until 3 a.m. when, from the minarets of the mosques of the town, the Koran was read over loud — and I mean loud — speakers. Why at that time in the morning they read the Koran, I'll never know. I got no more sleep. On our way to Petra, I asked Yasser if anyone ever listened to the reading at 3 a.m. in the morning. He said that the Koran used to be read by the priests, but now it was on recordings and was automatically read every so often and sent out over loudspeakers from the minarets. We were ready to leave, with our lunches all packed, by 6 a.m. Our driver was also an Arab in robes and a cloth over his head. Yasser was dressed in a suit. It was quite cool when we started out at sunrise, but as the sun grew higher, it warmed up as we drove over the plains of Moab. We drove almost due south from Amman, along the plains to the east of Mount Nebo. This whole area east of the Dead Sea is a hilly plateau. Here the Israelites camped before entering the Promised Land. It was in this locale that King Balak ordered Balaam (Num. 23:13) to curse the advancing Israelites and where, instead, God caused him to give them blessings rather than cursings. I do not remember the order of all the towns through which, or around which, we passed, but all were on the ancient trail of the Israelites, where Moses, as their leader, suffered their grumbling and rebellion against God and against him. However, one of the towns was Madeba. In this small town there was a Greek Orthodox church that was built in 1896 on the site of an ancient Byzantine church. On the floor, which was a part of the ancient church, was a map made in mosaic. It covered a large area and depicted biblical Palestine as well as the northern regions of Damascus and Byblos; Memphis and Alexandria in the south; the Mediterranean Sea in the west; and in the east were Amman and Petra. It is said to be the oldest map of Jerusalem in existence. (I believe they said it was constructed in the 6th century.) Also on the map were depicted vegetable and animal life. Among the animals shown were lions, which prove that these animals were inhabiting the region of Moab until that late date. This land was where Moab and Ammon, the sons of Lot's daughters, settled in the days of Abraham. It was so level, here, that the grain waving in the wind could be seen for miles. However, the grain fields thinned out as we neared the Wady Arnon. Actually, the Wady Arnon is a river at the bottom of a deep canyon. As we approached the fords of Arnon by way of the flat plateau country to the north, we could not see the Arnon until we arrived at the canyon rim. It looked like the Grand Canyon as it had a sudden drop of 4,000 feet. We descended to the bottom over the narrowest winding road we had ever been on. No car could possibly have passed us. Looking down on my side of the car, it seemed as if we were in space. It was hours, it seemed, before we reached the bottom of Arnon. Yet, on that lonely barren road, which was very high and miles from an inhabited place, we would meet a lone Bedouin walking. A few miles later there was another one riding a donkey. We had passed many Bedouin tents before we reached the fords of Arnon. All of their tents are made of black goat hair. They are open on one side, and all are surrounded with herds of black goats and camels. We also passed many herds of camels feeding on the hillsides and along the road. Our car had to slow down to make way for them in many places. The gorge of the Arnon, however, was barren until we reached the bottom. There we found a small stream with the most beautiful and luxuriant oleanders lining its banks. All were in full bloom. We took color pictures of them. After a few minutes rest, we started on the long climb up the opposite side. When we reached the top, we passed through another area of green fields. Feeding in one of the fields was a flock of eight storks. We tried to get pictures of them but they were startled and flew away. When I expressed how thankful I was that all that climbing was behind us now that we were on level ground, our guide informed us that we would have still another deep canyon to cross. Between these two canyons we drove up to the ancient city of Karak to refill the gas tank of the car. Karak was built with adobe or mud on top of a dry, desolate, dusty hill, inside the ruins of a high, ancient wall. The agricultural lands surrounding Karak are rich and green; but the city itself, with a population of 5,000, is desolate, dirty and built of stone and adobe. We saw the green trees and fields below the city and we marvelled at the choice that the people had made for their city and their homes. The guide, however, explained that the city had been built on the hill as a protection from other tribes; and that the people used to leave their homes and work in the fields, always returning to the safety of the city in the evening. This city is the ancient city of Kir-Moab of the Bible (Isa 15:1); also called Kir-Haresh (Isa. 16:11) and Kir-heres (Jer. 48:36). The people of the city today seem about half Roman Catholic (or Greek Orthodox) and the rest Muslim. We reached the bottom of the next canyon safely, however, and found a larger stream flowing across the road. We had to drive through this one. It was now noon and we ate our lunch under the ancient fig trees that grew along the banks. Nearby was a Bedouin camp and, as we walked up the stream to eat, there followed several children, peeking shyly from behind large boulders or trees. Our guide handed each of us a sack which contained a sandwich of hard coarse bread with beef, also one of cheese, and one with butter. There was also an orange and a tiny banana. I gave part of my sandwiches to a little Bedouin girl, but I felt safe in eating the cheese, a hard-boiled egg and the fruit. I had learned by this time to eat only what I could peel or to drink only what had been boiled.
At the small town of Shaubak built within the walls of an ancient fortress, we descended to Ain Musa, a spring, where there was a green and cool garden. From Ain Musa the road descends to Wady Musa and to the police station at Eljy. When we arrived, we found all arrangements had been made by our guide for our horses to ride into Petra. It was mid-afternoon when we arrived — dusty and tired. What a relief it was to leave the car and mount the horses. Our bags were piled on a small donkey (poor thing — he was almost hidden, with luggage for four people). I wondered if he would ever make the trip, but he did — allowing only one suitcase to fall. A bridle path leads from Eljy to the entrance of the siq — the narrow ravine leading into Petra. It was rough going over rocks and rills to the siq. Then we entered the winding path of the ravine itself. It is a dry stream bed of rocks and boulders with sheer cliffs of 200 to 300 feet in height on each side. At no place in the ravine is it wider than ten or twelve feet. The walls are of fantastic shapes and colors and in places appear almost to meet high above. We often brushed by oleanders in full bloom growing in the siq in every crevice. It was such an inspiring and interesting trip through the siq. My horse stumbled several times and I lost my hat a time or two but it was recovered by the Arab boy who led my horse. We had to go single file all the way and the little overloaded donkey plodded along behind. It is impossible to express the feeling that one receives from going on the trip to Petra. It was a different world altogether — as if someone had turned back thousands of years and we were living in history. Suddenly we came to the end of the narrow part of the siq and there before us, carved out of the mountainside, was the immense Khazneh — a temple to Isis. It is called the Treasury of Pharaoh by the local people, and is the best preserved temple in Petra. Some believe that it was hewn out of the rock by some Nabataean king. As we passed the Khazneh, the valley widens a little with great tombs or caves on either side. Further, on the left, were the remains of an ancient theater — a sort of amphitheater cut out of the mountainside. There were half-circular rows of stone seats for the audience. We could see how the Romans had sliced away many tombs in constructing this amphitheater. From here on, the valley widens and we soon saw the ruins lining an ancient paved street. As we started to go north on this street, I could hardly help but think of some of the history of this great city. This was the ancient city of the family of Esau and later of the Nabataeans. Five hundred years before Christ, this place, now in ruins, was occupied and was a hustling, thriving city. Then came the Romans who built some of the buildings and constructed some paved streets. (One of these streets we later walked on.) Along the way we saw the walls of the only real building standing in Petra. It was formerly a Roman temple to a pagan god. We also viewed hundreds and hundreds of caves and facades of temples carved out of the mountains, but not a one of them could be called a building. As we came to the north end of the ancient street, we saw many white tents. It was a camp for tourists that was called Nazzal's Camp. In the center was a large dining tent. On the north side of the camp and sheltering it is the great rock mountain el Habis. The whole side of this mountain is dotted with caves. We had the choice of a tent or a cave in which to sleep. Because a cold, stiff wind was blowing, we chose the shelter of one of the caves. It looked as if the tents would not be able to stand in the wind. So we climbed up a stairway cut in the side of the mountain to a large cave. It was sectioned off into rooms by canvas sheets. There were two cots in each section and a large room in the center space. I was so thoroughly chilled that I went right to bed. Soon, though, I found that I had to get up and put on part of my clothes and call for an extra blanket. The Arabs cooked for the other guests in a cave below our tier of caves and served the food in the dining tent. I had learned by this time what not to eat, so I tacitly ate an orange that our guide had given me before and then went to bed. With hunger and cold I began to see that Petra was no bed of roses but a place to really rough it. I had gone to bed quite early and despite the hunger and cold was sound asleep when suddenly I was awakened by a crowd of twenty-eight people who had just arrived from Eljy, who had come into the cave to hear a lecture by an English woman archaeologist who was here from the English Antiquities Society. She, with a number of Bedouins, was carrying on excavations in Petra. It seems it was too cold in the dining tent to hear the lecture so she brought them to the large cave where we were. It must have been after ten o'clock when she completed the lecture and all was quiet in the cave again. Soon after everything had settled down, I heard other occupants of the cave, including my husband, Dick and our guide come in and go to their cots. Once more quietness prevailed until all in the cave were sound asleep, except me. Suddenly I was startled by frightening sounds. A number of dogs began barking, which startled a number of donkeys so that they began to bray. That, then, started the jackals and the hyenas to yelping and screaming. I never heard such bedlam before. I was certainly thankful that I was in the cave and not in a tent. Next morning I learned that the animals were scattered over Petra and not near the camp. In fact, as we walked throughout Petra, we saw none of them save the donkeys. After having tea and an orange, we started the climb to Petra's famous "high altar." We began the climb behind the ruins of the ancient Roman temple. Soon we came across a little Bedouin girl about ten years old, herding a flock of black goats. I gave her some money to have her stand beside me and have her picture taken. She was dressed in black robes with a piece of black cloth over her head, a ring in her nose, beads around her neck and bracelets on her arms. All were made of cheap materials. After she had stood for her picture, she called in an ordinary tone of voice to someone way across the valley, and in her Arabic tongue told them of the coin she had received. The incredible acoustics of Petra carried her voice as if by a super loudspeaker. She held her hand high, with the coin, to show it as she called. I am sure that their sight is not as clear in Petra as the sound, for many of the Bedouins have diseased eyes. But we were amazed at being able to hear sounds so clearly over great distances. One evening Dick was across from our cave on another hilltop quite a distance from us. Mr. Armstrong tried out the carrying power of his voice and in a quiet tone asked, "Can you hear me, Dick?" Dick answered, "Very clearly." There are very few of these Bedouins in Petra. Children were more in evidence than adults. They are the ones that herd the black goats over the hills and even up the sides of the mountains. We were surprised to see them no more than nine or ten years old skipping around from rock to rock on a steep mountainside as nimble, almost, as the goats. After getting the little Bedouin girl's picture, we continued on our climb to the "high altar." The going became more difficult and we had to stop and rest often. It was quite frightening to look down and we began to wonder whether to go on further. Our guide told us that it would be dangerous to try to descend now. He said if we would just keep climbing we could go down on the other side of the mountain. The climb was difficult. In some places we had to crawl on all fours. As we ascended, we came face to face with a sculptured lion cut in the face of the rock. We rested here and took pictures of this beast which had been carved out of the stone many centuries ago. It was not in the best of condition for the weather had almost erased his head. At last we reached the top. Here were two giant obelisks. They had been made by hewing away of the whole top of the summit of the hill. These were two of the gods of the ancient Nabataeans. Ascending to another high point we came to the ruins of a temple situated high above the whole rock city of Petra. A wonderful view! Yet still higher up was the "high altar." By this time Mr. Armstrong and I were perfectly willing to sit and rest by the temple ruins and let Dick and Yasser, our guide, who had been with us all the trip, and the native Bedouin guide, go on up to the "high altar." The "high altar" is a platform with an altar hewn out of the rock. It is forty-seven feet by twenty-one feet. On one side, a bench was cut in the rock for those who brought their sacrifices. As we sat on the mountain top, we looked across to a mountain called Jabel Haroun. When Dick and Yasser and the Bedouin rejoined us, we started our precarious descent to camp. The going was not too difficult, that is, until we came to a large boulder much taller than any of us, down which we had to go. The Bedouin hopped down to a ledge below. Yasser, too, hopped down but not too easily — the Bedouin had to help him. There was not too much room left for us on the ledge, but I was finally lifted down by two of them and was placed at a little distance away. Now the problem was, how was Mr. Armstrong going to get down? On the sheer side of the rock there was nothing to hold onto. If he slid down and did not land on the narrow ledge, he would fall a great distance. Dick had gone on far ahead of us. We called to him but he was too far below to return. Finally, the Bedouin bent his back and encouraged Mr. Armstrong to step on him. Yasser stood near to steady him. We spent some time getting out of this predicament and were very thankful when we got out without accident. The descent was not so difficult from this point. Dick had waited for us and we stopped often to view the city of caves, temples and tombs. Far across we could see Bedouin children here and there with their herds of black goats. We marvelled at their ability to climb around on the steep places with seemingly no difficulty at all, while we had to be so careful. We continued down, finally coming to a narrow stairway hewn out of the rock. Here we saw and photographed an exquisite blue lizard with the most beautiful amber eyes. I hope that the picture comes out good. We finally emerged near the Roman theater and then walked back to camp. Dick explored much more of Petra than we did — at least in the higher mountains. One mountain climb was enough for us. We spent the afternoon in the lower hills, photographing a number of the colorful natural caves as well as many that were man-made. We were rather weak from lack of food, most of our stay in Petra. We drank tea because the water had been boiled. Perhaps the water as it came from the spring was good, but it was brought to camp in square tin cans slung over the back of a donkey that was led by a very dirty Bedouin. We could not see far into the "kitchen" cave, but what we saw did not look too clean. However, Mr. Armstrong and Dick both ate dinner. I stuck to the tea and as a result spent the night in wakefulness. Even without the tea I would have not been able to sleep because the same bedlam of the night before broke loose. The blood-curdling sounds of wild animals seemed to continue for hours. Early the next morning, we arose and found that our horses had already arrived from Eljy and along with them had come our faithful little pack donkey. We left the camp before sunup and soon reached the Khazneh. It was still too dark to take pictures so we waited until the sun began to shine on the marvelous carved temple. We obtained some clear pictures of it. Once more we mounted our horses and bade farewell to Petra. We rode single file through the siq on our way back to civilization — that is, Arabic civilization.