Having now studied the Nabatean culture from the Saudi Arabian perspective, I finally got my chance to visit the Nabatean capital of Petra.
Petra is a strange and rustic otherworldly place of ancient gods. It is less organised and more naturalistic than (ancient) Athens, with apologies to my buddy Γιώργος. It is chaotically creative, and brilliant. It is an ancient city carved from stone, embedded in those stones, while also borrowing greatly from the ancient Greeks, with whom they obviously traded ideas and goods.
Petra is one of the many hearts of the old silk road. There are carvings of caravans here set in stone. The city is over 4 km in length, and it is a strange milieu of funerary temples, civic buildings, residences, and when I think of it, the word “cave metropolis” just springs to mind.
Imagine walking through New York 2000 years from now. The Nabateans were a truly artisanal, clever, and creative culture and their architecture was more timeless, in many respects, than ours may ever be.