unparalled. / by Levi Buchanan

Words are not adequate vehicles to express the staggering magnificence of Petra, carved into the sandstone-rich Wadi Musa. It's difficult to believe human hands can improve on creation, but Petra -- resilient, enthralling Petra -- is proof that we are indeed capable of wonders. But rather than prattle on anymore about this most mystical place on our planet, here's a gallery of photos snapped on my two-day sojourn into the desert -- from that moment, that singular moment, when you spy the Treasury from the siq to the High Altar of Sacrifice that stands sentinel over Petra. And all the astonishments between, introduced to me by Issa, my wonderful bedouin guide.

Exiting the Siq. 

Exiting the Siq. 

The Treasury AKA the Grail Temple from "Last Crusade." 

The Treasury AKA the Grail Temple from "Last Crusade." 

The Monastery, one of the three "high" places in Petra. 

The Monastery, one of the three "high" places in Petra. 

The Treasury gets all the press, but the Monastery is the crown jewel of Petra.

The Treasury gets all the press, but the Monastery is the crown jewel of Petra.

Overlooking the valley with my bedouin guide.

Overlooking the valley with my bedouin guide.

The Altar of High Sacrifice. Worth the ascent.

The Altar of High Sacrifice. Worth the ascent.

Tomb of the Roman Soldier, seen from within the Tricilium. 

Tomb of the Roman Soldier, seen from within the Tricilium. 

Inside the Tricilium. 

Inside the Tricilium. 

Hiking the siq above the Treasury.

Hiking the siq above the Treasury.

Morning sun hitting the Treasury. 

Morning sun hitting the Treasury. 

Tomb raiding. 

Tomb raiding. 

Bedouin guide leading along the Roman colonnade. 

Bedouin guide leading along the Roman colonnade. 

Amphitheater. 

Amphitheater. 

Royal Tombs. 

Royal Tombs. 

Petra cat. 

Petra cat.