Thursday, December 3, 2009

Petra Amphitheatre

More useless information (maybe I'll do better at trivial pursuit after all this traveling). Carving of the buildings were always done from the top down - to keep the weight light and also to make sure carving at the top didn't damage anything below it. This also extended to carving out a room. They made a crawl hole in the top of a projected doorway where a single worker could start the excavation. He cleared out enough for one other person to join then 2 more then 3. They would work at chipping away at the sandstone until they cleared the room all the way down to the ground. Sure seems like a difficult way to make a room! We're not talking little rooms either - these things were 20 foot cubes!!

Petra, in its heyday, had a population of around 20,000 people - not a small place. While the entrance area had many of the funeral structures for the wealthy families, once we passed the treasury and entered the main town, homes, shops and every day activities began to show up. They had a huge amphitheater that would seat 5,000 and a long shopping area (check out the picture of the outdoor shopping mall) where goods, food, and farming supplies were sold. Sadly few of the homes survived - a large earthquake had hit the area and most of the homes on the mountain had collapsed.

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