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Treasures of the rose-red city

written in 1994
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The rose-red city half as old as Time en­folded us, and the deeper we explored, the more evident it became that guesswork would serve as well as our guidebook. For a start, the treasury may not have been a trea­sury, it could have been a tomb. It is also possible that the other facades carved out of the occasionally rose-red rock could have been tombs, though they may have been temples. They could have had a secular or a religious significance, could have been used for burial or ritual purposes, or could have been houses for the wealthy.

Here, you see none of those tour groups following the umbrellas brandished by their leaders. People just scramble about looking, and as there is quite a lot of it, they can keep on doing this for days. The fit and energetic can climb the rocky paths that lead up jagged cliff-faces to the “High Places” – the enigmatic name shows how little we know about them – making de­tours up smaller paths to smaller monu­ments of equally doubtful provenance.

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