Hike to Hidden Monastery Above Petra
After an hour of hiking up into the rocky desert hills surrounding Petra, Jordan, we turned the corner to find a 50-meter-high, columned façade emerging from the side of a cliff. The Monastery is carved out of a solid rock face like most of the ancient town of Petra, and I found it as breathtaking as its more well-known cousin, the Treasury, which stands at the opening of the narrow canyon that serves as the town’s entrance. Established in the sixth century BCE as the Nabateans’ capital, Petra is now Jordan’s most-visited historic site, and the number of tourists can be overwhelming. However, few visitors make the 800-step trek up to the secluded Monastery.
The trail starts behind the Basin Restaurant and Nabatean Museum, and it’s best to go in the afternoon when much of the path is shaded and the sun lights up the face of the Monastery. Another path continues from the base of the Monastery and climbs the facing hill. From the top, you can see the façade below and the hills fading into the distance.