THE ARCH CROSSING THE RAVINE.
Near the mouth of the chasm El Sik (Bab as-Sīq, Gateway to the Siq), an Arch, at a considerable height, connects the rocks on either side. Time has destroyed whatever evidence might have existed of its actual purpose, and the question now is, whether it was formed for ornament, for defence, or for simple communication.
But with that fondness for decoration which seems to have neglected no opportunity of exhibiting itself, the portion below the Arch is excavated into niches, which, it may be presumed, contained statues, possibly idols, the protecting deities of this extraordinary city. Some remains of a gateway, or barrier built of large square stones, show that the security of the entrance was in-trusted to more sufficient guardians.
Petra, though deserted, is not untrodden; a rude and infrequent traffic passes through it still; and it happened, that while the Artist was employed on this sketch, a caravan from Gaza, consisting of forty camels on their way to Màan on the Damascus road, passed through the ravine.
Source: The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt, & Nubia, by David Roberts (British, 1796-1864), George Croly, William Brockedon. London: Lithographed, printed and published by Day & Son, lithographers to the Queen. Cate Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 1855.