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pears to have covered more than a in regular order, like the houses of mile in length, nearly from north to a well-built city, they would form a south, by a variable breadth of about street not less than five or six miles half a mile. The rocky walls rise in length. They are often seen risalmost perpendicularly to the heighting one above another in the face of of six or seven hundred feet.
the cliff; convenient steps, now much The chief public edifices occupied worn, lead in all directions through the banks of the river, on the south the fissures, and along the sides of side of which an edifice is still stand- the mountains, to the various tombs ing, called “Pharaoh's Treasure," that occupy these lofty positions. which seems to have been a palace. Some of them are not less than from The excavations in the solid rock, two to three or four hundred feet however, are by far the most deserv- above the level of the valley. ing of notice. Whether formed for Besides the unadorned habitations temples, tombs, or the dwellings of of the humble dead, there is a vast living men, they surprise the visitor number of excavations enriched with by their incredible number and ex- various architectural designs. To tent. They are seen in precipitous these unique and sumptuous monurocks along the approaches to the ments of the most ancient races of place. If instead of following the men, Petra is indebted for its great sinuosities of the mountain and its and peculiar attractions. The front numerous gorges, they were ranged of the mountain is wrought into façades of splendid temples, rival. have passed away; the wild Arab, ling in their aspect and symmetry as he wanders by, regards it with the most celebrated monuments of stupid indifference or scorn; and Grecian art. Columns of various none are left, but strangers from disorders, graceful pediments, broad, tant lands, to do it reverence. Its rich entablatures, and sometimes rich roseate tints, as I bade it fare. statuary, all hewn out of the solid well, were gilded by the mellow rock, and still making part of the beams of the morning sun; and I native mass, transform the base of turned away from it at length with the mountain into a vast, splendid an impression which will be effaced pile of architecture; while the over. only by death." hanging cliffs, towering above in The name Khuzneh is given be. shapes rugged and wild, produce cause the Arabs think the place conthe most striking and curious of con- tains the treasure which they ascribe trasts.
to Pharaoh, and which they suppose But nothing contributes so much to be held in the urn crowning the to the almost magical effect of some summit of its ornamental front, a of these monuments, as the rich and hundred feet above the ground. various colours of the rock in which Their only interest in all these monothey are formed. The mountains ments is to search for hidden treasthat encompass the vale of Petra are ures; and, as they find nothing elseof sandstone, of which red is the pre- . where, they fancy they are in the dominating hue. But many of them urn, which to them is inaccessible. are adorned with a profusion of the It bears the marks of many musketmost lovely and brilliant colours. balls, which they have fired at it, in Red, purple, yellow, azure, or sky. the hope of breaking it to pieces, and blue, black, and white, are seen in thus obtaining the imagined wealth. the same mass, distinctly in succes- Robinson thus describes the gen. sive layers, or blended so as to form eral impression which he received : every shade and hue-as brilliant “ Around us were the desolations of and as soft as they ever appear ages—the dwellings and edifices of in flowers, in the plumage of birds, the ancient city crumbled and strew. or in the sky when illuminated by ed in the dust—the mausolea of the the most glorious sunset.
dead, in all their pristine beauty The Khuzneh, 6. Pharaoh's and freshness, but long since rifled, Treasure," struck Robinson with and the ashes of their tenants scatamazement and delight: “All at tered to the winds. Well might once the beautiful façade of the there be the stillness of death; for Khuzneh in the western precipice it was the grave itself—a city of the burst upon our view in all the deli- dead by which we were surrounded." cacy of its first chiselling, and in all History gives but scanty details the freshness of beauty of its soft of this rock-hewn city which once colouring. Nothing I had seen of received the caravans of Arabia, architectural effect in Rome or India and Persia, and sent their rich Thebes, or even Athens, comes up to stores on to Egypt, Syria, Palestine it in the first impression. Its won- and Greece. A city whose king, derful state of preservation, the glow during the last melancholy tragedies and tint of the stone, and the wild of Jewish independence, marched scenery around, all are unique, and out at the head of fifty thousand combine to take complete possession men, entered Jerusalem, and beof the mind. There it stands, as it sieged the temple until commanded has stood for ages, in beauty and by Rome to desist—its site was lost loneliness; the generations which to civilization for nearly a thousand admired and rejoiced over it of old years.
Under the name of Bozrah it is ranges of temples and of homes for mentioned in the Old Testament- the living and the dead. The inIsa. xxxiv, 6; Ixiii. 1. Jer. xlix. teriors behind the ornate fronts are 13, 22. Amos i. 12.
It was very
but caves squared by the old stoneancient; for it is referred to in Gen. cutter, and are lighted only by their xxxvi. 33, as the native city of one doors. While the bases and beetling of the princes of Edom, who lived sides of the mountains are fashioned "before there reigned any king over into architectural forms that are as the children of Israel.” It is spoken enduring as the eternal bills from of in terms which seem to indicate which they are hewn, the pictuthat it was the capital of Edom or resque summits above display nature Idumæa. We, are, then, inclined to in her wildest and most savage garb. identify Bozrah with Petra.
The following is the graphic acJosephus mentions Petra as the count by Mr. E. L. Wilson of his capital of Arabia Petræa. In the recent visit: We followed a stream reign of Trajan, it came under the sway of the Romans. His successor, Adrian, appears to have granted privileges to Petra, which led the inhabitants to give his name to the city upon coins. In the sixth century, Petra was the Metropolitan See of what was termed the third Palestine. From that time Petra suddenly vanished from the pages of history till rediscovered in our own times.
These remarkable ruins of Petra are continually guarded by a tribe of Bedouin Arabs, who live in the village of a few yards, and descending, as the Eljy, about two miles north-east. pass narrowed, the entrance of the They keep careful watch, because frightful chasm, seen afar off at sunthey believe that it is the object of rise, was reached at last. What an every white traveller who visits
impregnable gateway! Spanning it Petra to discover and carry away
is a fine buttressed arch, resting the riches of antiquity there hidden. upon rock-cut foundations. Beneath Many a would-be visitor has been this a little stream gurgles. We foldriven back from the very gates, lowed it through the only entrance robbed and insulted, without so much —the "front door” of Petra. It is as a bird's-eye view of Petra to com- difficult to conceive anything more pensate him for ten days of hard sublime. desert travel.
When we had come fairly inside The sides of the mountains are the gorge, we found it at times so cut to smooth perpendicular faces, narrow that two of us could not walk which are occupied by unbroken a breast. Its perpendicular sides vary in height from four hundred to sound came nearer and nearer, boomseven hundred feet, and frequently, ing and bounding through the gorge. without absolutely meeting, they The Bedouins were upon us! overhang to such a degree that the I scrambled down to the mouth sky is shut out from the sight for a of the gorge, arriving just in time hundred yards at a stretch.
to see rush furiously towards me six We scraped away the débris to mounted Arabs of wily mien, with the depth of nearly two feet, and long-reaching lances on their shoulreached the antique pavement. It ders. I stood to await their arrival. was found deeply furrowed by the They were as surprised to see me as tires of the chariot-wheels which I was to see them, and now they once coursed along this cavernous halted. I cried out “Sahib," and ofhighway—as deeply cut as some of fered my hand. To my surprise it the lava pavements of resurrected was taken good-naturedly by all of Pompeii.
the party, and a declaration of friend. At every turn we saw evidences liness passed between us. We were of indefatigable effort, and of how in their city, and now they were lavishly labour was expended by bound to protect us (and rob us!) the people who lived in Petra in its they declared. We were led triumdays of power. All seemed the work phantly into Petra by the very men of some giant magician's wand. The who would have prevented our endefile, indeed, is called Wady Mousa trance amid exactions and bluster, by the Arabs, because they believe had they caught us. that the Patriarch Moses, by one Then another scheme had to be perstroke of his staff, caused the moun- fected. As a rule, when travellers tains to separate and to form this get into Petra at all, they are hurtremendous fissure in order to enable ried out again as rapidly as possible, him to pass on to Mount Hor, ac- seldom remaining a full day. I companying Aaron, to help him die wanted to stay long enough to get and lay him at rest. For nearly two at least a tolerable photographic remiles we followed this semi-subter- cord of the ruins. I objected to take ranean passage. The pathway now my departure. The chief then atdescended; the water grew deeper, tempted to levy on my purse.
I disthe opposing thicket more impass- cussed the subject with him, agreed able, the scene more grand. A sud- to some of his propositions, paid on den turn in the gorge was passed ; account, and asked until next day and, as I looked skyward, through to consider the rest.
Thus I prothe rocky vista, I caught the first longed my visit. But for four days glimpse of that remarkable creation, only. I began to realize then that the Khuzneh! Only partly seen at if we remained there any longer we first, beyond the tall, narrow open- should be literally cleaned out, and ing, carved in stone of a pale rose perhaps killed by the Bedouins. colour, were columns, capitals, and News, spreads like wild-fire in cornices, as new-looking as if of modern Edom; and before we first yesterday. With what subtle judg. saw the sunset beyond Mount Hor, ment was the site chosen ! But when some sixty of Esau's descendants and by whom, no one knows—mys- had followed us and had opened terious history conceals.
offices in these cxcavations. Never Scarcely had I chosen for myself was so savage a haunt for banditti a comfortable seat among the rocks, conceived by Salvator Rosa. The when I heard a great crashing noise trouble then began. Each indi. in the gorge beyond, as though an vidual Arab claimed the privilege earthquake had sent great masses of of showing the city to the stranger. stone down to prevent our exit. The From their bluster I made up my mind that we were soon to be cut a time, Some item was always into pieces in order that the work forgotten."