I've spent the last day and a half at the Ottawa Romance Writers' Sweet & Spicy Conference - which was amazing - but on Friday I walked over the river and to the Museum of Civilization to see the exhibit about Petra.
This is Petra - you might recognize it from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This is where he found the knight and the grail.
The exhibit is perfect - not too big, but has all sorts of lovely artifacts from Petra. And I learned a lot - Petra used to be one of the biggest trading centres in the world - traders would travel from all over and go through Petra to get to the coast to ship their wares. They would have to go through the Siq - a long extremely narrow and deep pathway that led to Petra. Easily defendable, it made Petra a very safe city.
They built their tombs and monuments right into the mountain - this is one of them - and you can still go there today. They had great engineering to bring water into the city and were very successful until a terrible flood washed away all of their work and the city began to die. A fire put an end to it. A few Bedouins still live there but it must be a tough life with very little water.
The exhibits? All of lovely warm stone, I could see the chisel marks in some of the earliest pieces, 2300 years old. And I could imagine the men working away on the architectural details or the gods' heads or hair. There were tiny gold dolphins and huge stone heads, life size alabaster torsoes of Diana/Artemis and the smallest of carved leopards.
Having seen the exhibit, it makes me want to study this culture just a little bit more. I'd like to know about these amazing people who lived in the middle of the desert, who defended themselves against all comers, who built such beautiful and long-lasting monuments.