To many, Petra
has become a clichéd, stereotypical image of Jordan; its name and
pictures adorn many a tourist shop, travel agency, and hotel lobby,
but what do we, as Jordanians, really know about Petra? What do
we know about its people, religion, art and architectural design,
which have amazed people throughout the centuries? Do we really
care to know, and should we care?
For anyone with
doubts concerning the significance of the ancient city, Anees Maani
would beg to differ. Anees, who is a sculptor and great enthusiast
of archeology and Middle Eastern history, holds a strong belief
that our heritage is what makes us civilized. In Anees' eyes, our
history, and what we left behind of it, is a map of the human mind
and its evolution; it's a source of valuable knowledge which must
be preserved and learned from. Ignoring and taking these sites for
granted, to him, is a crime. And so, in his effort to spread awareness
on what he thinks to be one of the many important historical sites
in Jordan, Anees launched the new website www.go2petra.com "Nothing
on the net could ever cover everything there is to know about Petra,"
Anees admits, "but there are many things missing for people who
want to visit, many important facts and sites in and around Petra
that people should know about."
The site promises
to inform anyone who is interested in going to Petra or learning
more about the Jordanian landmark with straighforward, interesting
facts and current issues. The site hosts a number of different sections,
including a collection of more than 400 professional photographs
of Petra, a guide to "getting to Petra," helpful tips on visiting
and preserving the area and a comprehensive map of Petra itself,
plotting out all the monuments, temples, streets and tombs which
are a "must see" for any archeological enthusiast.
A brief history
of Jordan and a short guide to Aqaba, Madaba, Amman and other Jordanian
cities can also be found. Anees has included a compilation of other
related web links and a recommendation of good books to read for
people wanting to expand their knowledge on Petra. The site also
offers a meeting point for discussion on facts and information about
Petra and its history, strongly encouraging visitors, academics
and professionals to contribute to the collected data.
with many local businesses inside Petra and throughout Jordan, Anees
ultimately aims to create a user-friendly network of transportation,
accommodation and tourist stops for low budget travelers who are
concerned about the high costs of visiting Jordan. "I've met many
people in Sinai and other tourist areas outside of the country who
want to come to Jordan, but are afraid of how expensive it is. I
want to make traveling in Jordan cheaper than Egypt!"
established in July this year, has already gained a surprising amount
of exposure. Receiving an average of 300 visits per day, the popularity
of the site continues to grow, its visitors serving as proof of
the overwhelming worldwide interest in the ancient city.
is a small, but important, step in raising a proper awareness of
Petra's rich history, and educating people on the need to preserve
and maintain the many archeological spots of cultural importance
in Jordan. In the future Anees hopes to expand this endeavor into
a full-blown campaign, but first, local Jordanians and travelers
across the globe can give Anees a "thumbs up" for his great singular
effort in making a difference.