Petra. An Ancient Watch Tower commanding the valley of El Chor.

Ancient, Watch, Tower, Petra, Holy, Land, Levant, David Roberts
Approach to Petra. An Ancient Watch Tower commanding the valley of El Chor. February 5th, 1839.


This tower is a striking object, from its position on an overhanging mass of rock, rising abruptly from the plain, on the left of the ravine by which Petra is approached through its mountain barrier.

Widely overlooking the Valleys of El Ghor and Akaba, it appears to have been one of a chain of posts, or of signal towers surrounding the City; an important and customary precaution in countries so liable to invasion.

The tower is hewn out of the solid rock, and contains two chambers, but entirely plain, and without inscription or memorial of any kind.

Robinson observed similar structures in this quarter. Keeping on directly towards the middle pass, Es-Sufah, near the foot of the mountain, he came to the ruins of a small post or castle of hewn stones. It was obviously intended to guard the pass. 1)

The Artist, on leaving Petra by another route, saw the foundations of other towers of the same kind, and apparently intended to keep up a chain of communication. This chain could be traced nearly to Hebron, particularly in crossing the high ridge called Nukb al Sujah. 2)

1) Robinson, Biblical Researches, ii. 590. 2) Roberts’s Journal.

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.

Note:  Sorrento, a coastal town in southwest Italy on the Bay of Naples.

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