Bedouin boy

Petra – Day 2, In Which We Climb Jabal Haroun

Jabal Haroun (mountain Aaron) is a holy site for all Abrahamic religions, venerated by Jews, Christians and Muslims as the resting place of Aaron, brother of Moses. It’s also the highest mountain of Petra. A strenuous 20 km trek up the mountain and back to Petra was waiting for us on the second day of our Petra trip.

Petra desert
Petra’s Marsian landscapes

The path up the mountain goes through the home-stay of a Bedouin family. As the key-keepers of the small monastery on the top of the mountain, they have exclusive rights to guide groups up the mountain.

Suraya, the mother of the family, is 33 years old
Suraya is 33 years old

While Suraya, the mother of the family, was hustling the services of her donkeys, her husband nonchalantly rested nearby.

bedouin family
The patriarch of the family with one of his sons
Bedouin kids
These boys are not yet fed up with the attention of visitors with cameras

After renting several donkeys from the family, we started our slow ascend.

See the white dot on the top of the mountain? That’s where we were heading

Petra desert

 

This male Sinai agama lizard is bright blue to attract females during the breeding season
This male Sinai agama lizard is bright blue to attract females during the breeding season
Suraya is hurrying to join the group with the keys to the shrine, which she apparently forgot
Suraya is hurrying to join the group with the keys to the shrine, which she apparently forgot

A few minutes of rest is a good opportunity to take some more photos of our guides

Taking a rest
This mule is happy for some rest

 

Bedouin boy
Judging by his serious looks, this boy feels the weight of manhood piling up

The path up the mountain offers some great views of the surrounding desert

desert views, Petra

The path up the mountain offers some great views of the surrounding desert

The last meters to the peak conveniently have steps.

Stairs up to the peak oh Jabel Haroun

From this point, the Israeli side of the Jordan valley could be seen. Suddenly, my phone started ringing with incoming sms, revealing that we stepped into an area of Israeli cellular coverage.

Israel is at the far side of the valley

Finally, the white dome, that looked as a white dot on the top of the mountain at the beginning of the trek, appeared above the shrine wall

Aaron shrine

After 4 hours of ascend, we are on the top.

White dome of the Aaron shrine

The shrine was renovated by the Mamluke sultan Qalawun in 1459, replacing earlier buildings which had stood on the same site. Up until then, the caretakers had been Greek Christians.

white dome of Aaron temple

While we were taking in the views, Suraya and her sister were preparing a tea for us

tea preparation

Making fire for the tea

Bedouin woman holding wood

Our Bedouin guides offer me for sale a Roman coin they found right on this site. New Roman coins are till this day being found  across Jordan.

roman coin

The inside of the monastery is simple and unremarkable.

Our tour leader Einat, on the right
Our tour leader Einat on the right

But what’s interesting about this place isn’t its architecture. Rather, it’s the rare occurrence of all 3 religions agreeing between them, that this is the place of Aaron’s burial.

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A small alcove for lighting candles
Taking a last photo before starting descent
Taking a last photo before starting descent

Well rested and energized, we started our way back.

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Notice the interesting formation in the form of a head

Back at the place where we met our Bedouin guides, we paid them, and said them goodbye.

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Reaching the outskirts of Petra, Nabataean burial tombs started appearing.

Nabataean burial tombs

When we were passing by these Bedouin girls, the little one asked for money. Her older sister told her to stop, and we agreed on candy instead.

When the little Bedouin girl asked for money, her older sister told her to stop. We agreed on candy instead.

At 7pm we were back at our village. It was hard to believe that just a few hours ago, this little white dot on the top of the mountain was right in front of me.

Wadi Musa village
Wadi Musa village

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