Petra in Jordan was the center of the Nabatean culture, abandoned in the 7th century after an earthquake. It’s built mostly in and above an extremely narrow two-kilometer canyon that is in some places no more than a few meters wide. Except that the city wasn’t built, it was carved, like a sculpture: start with a rock face and chisel away everything that isn’t part of the design, top-down, inside and out, in great detail.

The Treasury, the most well-known building (carving?), is where Indiana Jones has found the Holy Grail in his last crusade (first picture). Oddly, the movie doesn’t show the hordes of tourists doing selfies, the tables of the souvenir vendors with their identical trinkets, the horse buggy operators with their electrical cables for whips zooming through the crowds, and the coffee and snack containers all over the place. Despite all this, the magic is still there. The city is much larger than I expected.