Petra flourished more than 2,000 years ago, trading with Rome as an equal before being abandoned after a series of earthquakes in the 4th and 6th centuries C.E. It wasn’t until the 19th century, when European explorers “rediscovered” it, that the ancient city returned to the public consciousness. Now, visitors can walk down the narrow canyon of the siq to the city entrance—as dramatic an approach as any to a tourist attraction on the planet. The canyon opens up onto the carved facade of the Treasury, Petra’s most iconic site. From there, you can explore the cliffside tombs with their colorful bands of sandstone, the Street of Facades, and the amphitheater hewn from living rock. The ancient center lies some distance off, along with the splendid old Monastery, which sits at the top of a steep but rewarding climb. Consider buying a three-day ticket and visiting at different times of day to enjoy the changing light—early in the morning is best for the Treasury, while late afternoon is better for the Royal Tombs.
Petra Visitor Center
Both inside and outside the ancient site of Petra, vendors sell all sorts of souvenirs, from hookahs to colorful sand bottles with desert scenes. For a less chaotic shopping experience and higher-quality items, the Visitor Center operates a store that sells crafts, textiles and jewelry to benefit rural women.
Enter through the Siq
The narrow canyon of the siq makes for a dramatic entry to Petra. As you walk the trail, bordered by immense cliffs on both sides, it’s easy to understand how the Nabataeans managed to guard their capital from attack and how, later, Petra was lost to history for centuries.
Discover the Nabataeans' Ancient Capital
Its mammoth monuments, chiseled out of towering cliffsides, are splashed in swirling, natural rock colors of yellow, orange, and red. Petra is more vast than you can imagine (bring decent hiking shoes) and contains so much more than you’d expect. And no, the Treasury, of Indiana Jones fame, is not all there is to see. The Treasury is just the tip of the iceberg. Spend two or three days here scrambling amid the ruins and hiking narrow trails across the cliffs, far from the main tourist route. This ancient city has much more to offer than its walk-on role in a Hollywood film.
Traverse the Back Route into Petra
For a dramatic entry into the Nabataean city of Petra, you can’t beat this hike. Starting from Little Petra (a small canyon with rock facades that once served as a camel caravan trading post) 8km from Petra’s entry gate, the trail cuts through the sandy plains of the Wadi Arabah until a stone cairn marks the beginning of a rock-cut staircase threading across the cliff. The views along the way, across undulating craggy mountains, are stunning, but the real prize lies at the end of the trail, where you get your first glimpse of the Monastery’s urn peeking over the hill slope.
Stare Upward in Awe at the Treasury
Made world famous after becoming the setting of the Holy Grail’s home in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Treasury is Petra’s most recognizable monument. Its facade soars to 40m, creating an imposing welcome to the main ruins area after visitors have exited the siq. In Arabic it’s called al-Khazneh Pharon (the pharaoh’s treasury) thanks to a myth that the urn right at the very top of the facade is filled with gold. Although the Treasury’s true purpose has never been unearthed, it’s thought to have been built as either a tomb for one of Petra’s kings, or as a temple dedicated to one of the Nabataean gods. If you want to see the ornate facade bathed in sunlight, get here early in the morning.
Get the Best Photo of the Treasury from Above
Everybody is after the “money shot” of the Treasury glimpsed between the cliff edges of the siq, but an even better way to capture the Treasury is from above. Just after the Palace Tomb (along the Royal Tombs ridge), a set of weather-beaten stairs leads up to the summit of Jebel Khubtha where there are traces of a Nabataean high place of sacrifice. The views across Petra’s central city ruins all the way up the trail are magnificent and would be worth the 40-minute hike alone. At the summit, though, another prize awaits. Take the trail that leads you from the summit and down to a ridge where you can sit and survey the Treasury from above.
Take the Trail up to the Monastery
It’s a bit of a hike up to the Monastery, but it’s worth all the sweat. Just past Petra’s central city ruins, a steep trail twists and turns up the hill leading you, finally, to the plateau where the Monastery sits. The name is something of a misnomer, as the building was likely used as a temple by the Nabataeans. But whatever its original use, this mammoth monument is one of Petra’s most impressive. Take time to sit at the tea shack directly opposite, to admire the towering facade, and then head up the slope to the lookout point on the hillock above.
Climb to Jebel Madhbah's High Place of Sacrifice
For views of the rugged mountains, take the stone-cut stairs that twist up the hillside, just before Petra’s Roman Theatre, to the high place of sacrifice. On the summit of Jebel Madhbah, a preserved altar platform marks the area where the Nabataeans made ritual sacrifices to their gods. For great photographs overlooking the vast Petra area, walk past the altar, along the summit ridge.
Explore the Royal Tombs
Some of Petra’s most interesting monuments to explore are the Royal Tombs, which sit on a ridge, east of the Roman Theatre. The weathered facades lead into empty chambers with walls that display colorful swirls of pink and orange rock colors. The Urn Tomb is the most popular to visit and is the best preserved, but to get away from the crowds it’s worthwhile walking along the ridge to see all of the other monuments that only a handful of Petra’s visitors bother to see. The Palace Tomb’s three-story facade is particularly impressive though worn and battered by the elements.
Stroll the Remnants of Petra's Civic Center
The big-hitter monuments of the Treasury and Monastery get all the glory, but Petra’s central city ruins are a fascinating place in which to spend some time. Right at the valley basin, overlooked by the Royal Tombs high on the ridge above, a colonnaded street leads you into what was once the heart of the Nabataean capital. The huge Great Temple and Qasr al-Bint are the main ruins to explore, while on the hill opposite are the remains of two Byzantine era churches (only discovered in the 1990s) with some vivid and intricate preserved mosaics.
Head Out onto Petra's Backroad Trails
Petra is so vast, it doesn’t take much to get away from the crowds. If you want to discover more than just the main monuments, pull on your hiking shoes and hit the backroad trails that crisscross the hills surrounding the main valley. Here you’ll find shepherds herding flocks of goats in the fields beside monuments that are only visited by a handful of hikers every week.
Petra: Get the Three-Day Pass
I had wanted to see Petra for as long as I could remember. Knowing nothing about it, simply did not matter. The best advice is to go very early in the morning when people are at a minimum. You enter through the Siq, a long and narrow rock alley. Take your time and take a deep breath before you get your first look at the Treasury. Soak it in. If you’re lucky and there are few others, sit on the ground and just stare. Then move on and explore the ancient city of Petra. There are few if any spots you cannot access; no doubt you could spend three days in this UNESCO World Heritage site. Talk to the vendors selling jewelry, many are original residents of Petra, who only moved out in the last decades.
Dah da da dah dah da daaah
You can’t help but hum the theme to Indiana Jones as you come to the end of the magical Siq - the winding, sand and rock, kilometres long prelude to what has to be one of the most stunning sights of the Middle East. As soon as you see it appearing, your eyes widen, the heart literally pounds and you toss up between running towards this amazing sight or being still for just a moment longer, to absorb the wonder that’s in front of you.
By Donkey or Foot: The Monestary
Everyone marvels at the Treasury upon first entrance to Petra in Jordan. And they should. It’s amazing in the “wonder of the world’ sense. However, the complex of Petra is not just the Treasury. The Nabeteans, the Romans, and the Turks were busy living and constructing over millennia. Hire a donkey or lace up your hiking boots and head back through the canyons and cliffs to the Monestary - an enormous building carved into the sandstone cliffs.
The rose-red ancient city of Petra is the jewel in Jordan’s archaeological crown. Visitors walk through narrow gorges, emerging onto spectacular 2,000-year-old relics carved into hard reddish rock—including Al-Khazneh, “the Treasury,” which was built as a tomb for an ancient king. Petra’s remains are a testament to Jordan’s importance on the spice route that wound through China, India, the Arabian Peninsula, and southern Europe. In addition to tombs, there are Roman-style theaters, sacrificial altars, and colonnaded streets. Romantics can book a candlelit evening tour complete with accompanying storytelling and pipe music.
The Monastery: Petra's "Other" Treasury
At the other end of Petra, some 800 well-worn steps up, lies the valley’s largest structure, the Monastery. It dates back to the 1st century and is dedicated to Obadas I, the king of the Nabataeans from 96 B.C.E. to 85 B.C.E. After the emotional experience I had walking through the long, graceful Siq and seeing the Treasury, the Monastery can be quite a stretch. But it is worth the long trek in the valley and the demanding hike up, if only for the view. It’s also humbling to photograph yourself against the structure: You are ant-like compared to the Monastery’s colossal 45-meter-high frame. Tip: Do the hike when it’s cooler, so you’re not trekking the steps at noon, when it is hottest.
The Rose Red City of Petra
As is often the case with travel expectations, there’s so much more to a site than what we can see in the confines of a screen or read in black and white letters on a page. Often the real place is a shock of depth, colors and aromas, and the way all our senses are engaged eventually blows past the limits of our own imaginations. Petra makes just about every influential travel list – top places to see before you die, wonder of the world and it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. Most aptly named, Petra is Greek for “rock,” and this capital of the Nabateans is carved into the surrounding desert cliffs and sandstone mountains. A trading center and formidable fortress accessible now by a narrow gorge called the Siq, Petra was a bustling city around the 6th century BC, but forgotten by the Western world until rediscovery in 1812. There are a variety of ways to enter the city, and the Nabateans made sure none were easy. The walls of the Siq reach up to 650 feet high, wrapping you in rose and rust rock striations for about 20 minutes until you spill out at the end of the mile-long path to take in the first peek of the imposing Treasury. Jordan’s compact size makes it easy to day trip from main cities to most of the top destinations, but Petra is one of those spots you want to give ample, adequate time to explore. Even one whole day and night was not enough to see all I could’ve seen, so factor in plenty of time.
The Monastery at Petra
Worth the 800 steps (though watch out for the mules), the Monastery is impressive even among the many ruins in Petra.
Ascending to the Petra Monastery
Dark-haired, dark-eyed, dark-skinned men ride horses up and down the path that leads to Petra‘s Siq, the mile-long entrance to the ancient city. I walk the stretch of the archeological park, clambering up hills and and rocks for better views of the tombs, temples and monuments. The city is larger and more elaborate than I had imagined it would be. The reward at the end of my shadeless walk is the grandiose Petra Monastery but there’s just one catch: it’s up 800 steps. And it’s worth every single step.
Expect to spend all day
Petra is a wonderful step into the vestiges of a once thriving trade route city. The world passed through a thriving economy and culture. Expect to spend a day there, and to ease the strain of walking the ruins, book at a nearby hotel rather than travel on. It is possible but a ride on a guided horse or mule for the difficult walks uphill, and long distances but most people are able to walk. Carry some food and a generous water supply in your day pack. A camera, sturdy shoes. and sun glasses are essentials.
A rose-red city half as old as time...
John William Burgon’s poem describes Petra aptly. A visit at sunrise is a must (the park opens at 6am). The pinks, reds and oranges of the rocks are simply breathtaking in the soft morning light. Best of all–you’ll have Petra to yourself (!!) for an hour or two. Coming from Israel, I organized my visit to Petra/Jordan via private guide through Desert Eco Tours in Eilat (www.desertecotours.com). Our contact there was Ellen–she’s a rockstar!
Petra Police Patrol
These must be the BEST police uniforms in existence! The gentlemen were patrolling the grounds at Petra and kindly let me take their picture.
Through Rose Colored Rock
I walked through the Street of Facades and saw remnants of tombs and homes stacked one on top of the other. The doorways were so dark I wondered if they were a black hole able to transport me to another place and time if I crossed the threshold. I walked past a 7,000-seat amphitheater. I walked on a colonnaded street modernized in the 2nd century AD with columns and porticoes-courtesy of the Romans. Standing there it was easy to picture a bustling city where people lived, worked and thrived off of silk and spice trades. I walked towards the massive Qasr al Bint Temple built of stone around the time of Jesus. Despite what still stood, time and weather had taken its toll on the city. The facades appeared rubbed smooth like a stone used in a stone skipping contest.
The world in one place
Petra is one of the wonder’s of the world and so it is no surprise that people from all over the world converge in this beautiful location. The Bedouin were so friendly and helpful, even when I wasn’t buying a donkey or camel ride from them. I met one who took me on a three hour hike to see the Treasury from the cliffs on the other side. Bring good hiking shoes, water, and your camera and just wander through the vast area of Petra and explore the many trails and buildings. After a day of exploring, I came across a large group of Saudi men which was a bit surreal in the between the towering rocks of the Sikh. Just a reminder that I’m not at home.
The first peak at Petra
You arrive at the gates of Petra, not knowing what to expect. You begin the 1+ mile walk in on a path, seeing caves in the distant mountains. Then you walk through the sikh with the towering rocks on both sides and imagine how many people from distant lands walked the same path before. At the end (and you don’t know you’re at the end), the sikh opens up. If you walk from the far left wall, this is the first glimpse you’ll get of the Treasury. It is magical as it peaks through the cracks and then you step out into the vastness of what we all know as Petra.
Adventurous? Try This View of Petra!
Petra deserves more than one day. I spent two days hiking around and was rewarded on day two with this beautiful (and harrowing) view. On my hike up to some sacrifice point, I met a Bedouin man. I asked him about the secret hike to see the Treasury from the cliffs on the opposite side. He offered to take me and so begins four of the most memorable hours of my time in Petra. He took me out of the kindness of his heart and shared stories of living in Petra (yes, some of the Bedouin still illegally live there), of tourists that have come ... and fallen, and more about their culture. I could not have found my way to this spot without him, traveling down and up cliffs, across flat plains, but it was an amazing site. A little less adventurous? Take the safer route and hike to the cliff on the other side by taking the route behind the Royal Tombs. But it is beautiful and peaceful to be so high above the tourists down below and so rewarding to meet a local.
Most Beautiful Rocks Ever
Petra is this lovely shade of rusty red. But some of the rocks have these beautifully marbled colors of red, yellows, greens, and whites. I came across this one wall that was so brilliantly colored it just took my breath away. I literally sat there for 30 minutes to enjoy the colors, amazed at what nature can create. If you go, this rock was on the way to the Roman Soldier’s Tomb - well worth the trek.
A Bedouin Boy Leads The Way
My friends and I had been told of a mineral spring, located off of the Colonnaded Street in Petra, where we could go to cool off. So without thinking twice, we began following an empty side street away from the tourist-populated sites, and ended up on an unmarked path that took us straight into the mountains. Tiny pink wildflowers bloomed on all sides, and the city’s infamous rose-colored cliffs were a wonder to look at. But in ten minutes, we were thoroughly lost. Luckily, a 13-year-old Bedouin boy, sitting in the shade while his donkey grazed, offered to take us to the spring. Unable to speak much English—and chain smoking the whole time—the boy led us on a silent two-hour trek through dense thickets, over streams and narrow ditches, under scary-looking barbed wire fences, and across some rather precarious bare rock faces that almost had me tumbling into the abyss. But finally, after much perseverance, and more than a few scratches and scrapes, we reached a medium-size pool wedged in between two vertical cliffs. Our guide remained seated, but we immediately stripped off our clothes and slipped into the cool, neon green water, which felt even more refreshing after the haul. I took this shot of the boy, whose name we never got, taking a break as we dried off in the sun. He never asked for any money, didn’t seem to care who we were or where we were from, and yet managed to offer what was probably the most enjoyable experience I had in all of Jordan.
Wandering the Far Reaches of the Rose-Red City
Tucked away inside the vertiginous rock walls of the siq is the famous Treasury of Petra. In front of its Greek columns, Bedouin men with harnessed camels and donkeys offer rides to tourists, a small shop sells overpriced knick knacks, and people from every country on earth snap photos of the great and mysterious facade carved in stone. If you continue along the path that winds through Petra, passing the amphitheater and tombs on the southern cliff face, you will eventually get to a restaurant, where the buffet-style meal includes several types of hummus. Though there is much more to explore even farther along the path, the crowds will have thinned considerably, allowing you an unobstructed view of the beautiful street of facades, and the time and space to take in the astounding, ancient sites.
Petra by night
This is an experience that you do not want to miss, it is on 3 days a week at 8:30 pm, it cost 12 Jordan Dinars. If you arrive early you will have enough time to wonder around “The Siq” and maybe do a small peekaboo around the corner (if you bring a flashlight) also if you want to take a picture during this bring a tripod It is totally worth it PS this is my first post on AFAR
history repeat itself again
I will say you will need as minimum of 2 days to know 70% of Petra, it is a huge site also i recommend that you bring a camel back that will ease your life and stop carrying those bulky bottle of water that un-educated people throw away inside the ruins I think i missed a lot an I walked around 40 km on 2 days
Nature's Colorful Palette
Walls of Petra seemed wearing Designer Attire
The Youngest Entrepreneur
Sitting outside the Byzantine Church, deep inside the archaeological site of Petra, Jordan, this serious young lady was set up selling sand to tourists. (Since this is not allowed and something no one should do, most I saw just donated to her for taking her picture.) She was also willing and charming as a tour guide.
Mosaic from Byzantine Church Petra
Everyone knows the facade of the Treasury at the entrance of Petra, but what few know until visiting is that Petra is a vast site that encompasses many historic periods. One of the more recent excavations is down the Roman road and up a hill--the Byzantine Church. The mosaics still being unearthed are some of the finest and most diverse I have seen. Be sure to climb up and have a chat with the archaeologists. But remember-you will have about a 1 hour hike back out of the siq from here--almost all uphill!
Life in Ancient Place
I will always remember Petra, and not just for the stunning beauty of the ancient ruins. The people and animals that continue to live and work there left a deep impression. In some ways this picture tells only a piece of the story. I stopped for a moment on the long hike upwards. A donkey rested tethered to a tree. Locals offer the donkeys as transport up the steep climb to the monastery. Waiting for a tourist, this donkey stood, staring dumbly at the path. Petra, with thousands of tourists, is utterly dependent on tourism. In constant need for me and thousands of strangers to spend money. Thus I feel conflicted about that trip. I am grateful to have seen this place. Yet, my presence encouraged this industry further. Was my visit good or bad? I don’t know.
An Out of the Way Lunch Spot: Petra, Jordan.
It was a long walk up to our guide’s “special” lunch spot, but well worth it. At the top a very hospitable gentleman was up on the “patio” selling delicious hot tea. Petra is so amazing! It was much bigger than I had expected.One needs a few days to do it justice and pictures just don’t seem to do it justice. I particularly liked spending time interacting with the people of Petra.
Under the Moon
In November 2012, I set off on a 6-day trek across west-central Jordan with Wildland Adventures, from the Dana Biosphere Reserve to the fabled city of Petra, hidden behind an impenetrable wall of towering sandstone cliffs. Our launching pad, and last place of civilization was the Feynan Ecolodge, a shimmering mirage of beautiful, serene accommodations seemingly carved out of the desert itself. Around 4-4:30A, I awoke suddenly. Whether from jet-lagged rhythms or the barking of a dog or just the overwhelming light of a desert sky full of stars, all thoughts of going back to sleep immediately left me. I sat at my window and felt the cool night air, a slight wind swept into the room, breathing and moving like a presence, stirring the silk ribbons hanging from the mosquito netting above. I watched as a sliver of moon rose gold and glowing over the dark embankment just beyond the lodge, instantly recalling one of my favorite passages from Rumi, “The madmen have seen the moon and are running to the roof with ladders.” Following suit, I dressed in the dark & slipped through the silent passageways of Feynan, to climb a narrow staircase to the rooftop. As the sky lightened, young Bedouin shepherds at a nearby encampment released their herds of goats, setting out into the desert along the same ancient paths as countless herds before. At that moment, Jordan - its landscape, its timeless rituals - became a part of me.
Walking the Siq in Petra
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade did much to make the Treasury the most recognizable landmark in Petra, and it is truly a breathtaking sight to behold. However, it is the Siq, the gorge that leads from the entrance to the Treasury, that makes the site magical. This 2 km long sandstone canyon is a geological curiosity. The sandstone is a warm spectrum of color and contrast that stretches up hundreds of feet. Along the route, the path is never wider than 3 meters. This adds to the excitement of dodging the horse-drawn carriages that transverse the Siq at break-neck speed. Finally, I understood the wonder that every traveler before me experienced as we walked into the heart of Petra. The last curve of the Siq revealed an obstructed view of the Treasury. The anticipation is almost overwhelming as you walk the last few yards, but at last, the Treasury comes into view. This is the moment that the Siq promised. It is the moment when you think ‘yes, everything I did to get here was absolutely worth it!’
After a hike through a narrow siq, you come upon Petra with it’s rose stone carving of the Treasury building but just as captivating is the local life of camels and buggy rides
Bedouin worker at Petra
Most of the people who offer camel, donkey and cart rides, or sell souvenirs and work in the various stalls are Bedouin who are quite quite possibly descendants of the original inhabitants of Petra.
Walking through Petra
Nothing can compare. You have history, stunning architecture, natural beauty, a landscape that is so rugged that it takes you to the limits of your endurance and a sampling of cultures not found anywhere else I have traveled.
A couple days after seeing the Pyramids we came to Petra and were completely blown away. The walk through the canyon only builds up the excitement and then the Treasury appears immediately in front of you. The Pyramids might have been one of the Seven Wonders of the World but whoever came up with that list did not come here.
Out of Petra
As we were making out way through the mazed entanglements of towering red rock, still tingling with awe after the magnificent sight of the ancient city of Petra, I happened to turn around just as this horse and carriage were coming around the corner. It was an odd sight as a modern traveler on foot, but for a second made me believe I might have traveled back to ancient times, as traders rode in and out with their wares and their water.
Solomon's friend: first name Jack; last name. . . ?
Towards the end of a five-month solo trip through Europe and the Middle East in 2011, I spent a week in Jordan. I was very curious about Petra, and seeing it was a thrill that I will never forget as long as I live. But the best part of my visit was meeting so many great Jordanians. Of all the places I visited, the Bedouins in Petra and the residents of Amman were some of the most outgoing and welcoming people I encountered anywhere. I rarely photographed any of the people I met because it usually didn’t feel right. But I had a really good chat with a couple of kids sitting on top of a cliff overlooking Petra. One of them, Solomon, had his donkey Jack waiting nearby. Solomon never told me what Jack’s last name was. ;)
Jordan is Pretty Epic
Fly to Amman, rent a car, buy a map, go explore anywhere you want, uninhibited, get on your plane home, and then tell all your friends freaking amazing your trip was and you haven’t even talked about Petra yet. It isn’t just desert, that’s for sure. But if you want desert, it’s some of the most amazing that you’d ever see. Do you best to get lost and ask some friendly Bedouin for directions - you’ll probably end up eating dinner under a tent in the red-sand desert. While someone near you roast coffee beans in the desert night, you’ll be looking at the black sky trying to figure out how that country put more stars in it. Why it’s good as a photographer You are free to pretty much explore most places that you’d want to explore. It’s safe, all locals are helpful, and having a camera out is expected. Endless things to photograph. The light is incredible. Go for Petra, stay for - Wadi Rum, Aqcaba, Dead Sea, Little Petra, Madaba, Jerash, the food. Tips Sand is an issue. Don’t change your lens if you don’t have to. Bring hiking boots, Petra is huge! It’s not just the treasury, which is what everyone knows.
Petra is a must see when visiting Jordan. You will spend hours walking through the As-Siq entrance, gazing at the Al-Khazneh (Theater), visiting the Tombs, Colonnaded Street, and if you have the energy (or get a donkey ride) you can walk up the 1,000 stone steps, which is where Petra’s second most famed attraction is, Ad-Deir (Monastery). There is also a little cafe where you can sit, have a drink, and a snack before heading back. Don’t be surprised when the ticket price is based on your nationality!
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.
pretend you are Indiana Jones
Petra Jordan is one of those places that you have to put on any bucket list. I went a decade ago and then dragged my husband there last year because “you can’t miss this one” I told him. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade fans will recognize the location. But aside from the Treasury (shown above) there are many other facades as well as an amphiteater and the ruins of a Roman road. Lost to all but some bedouins who lived in the ancient city for centuries, the now UNESCO World Heritage site is protected and the bedouins have been removed to a new town overlooking their former home. Take a camel ride- why not? - and enjoy a glass of tea at a “cafe” as you wander through. Things have changed since my first visit so I would also add this to the GO NOW list - gone already is the handmade shack with the hand lettered marquee “Indiana Jones Gift Shop”, now instead is a new visitors center - progress to some but not to all... so make your own call on this one. But for me, I am glad I saw it before the bedouins left town and UNESCO moved in to “clean” up the place...
A magical place—
Petra: City Of Stone.
As you exit the canyon called a Siq you enter a small clearing, and are breathlessly taken aback by the grandeur of Petra.
The other face of Petra
There is more to Petra than its iconic Treasury building and the winding Siq leading to it. Known as the Vegas of its time, crowds still converge to marvel at the ancient tombs, temples, and churches. Through the ages, it has acquired a myriad of styles from it’s many possessors: Nabatean, Greek, Roman and Byzantine, to name a few. Surprisingly only a small portion of Petra has been uncovered thus far. To properly see and appreciate Petra you need two full days. The entrance ticket can be purchased for 1, 2 or 3 days, best value is a three day pass. For those not staying overnight in Jordan the entrance ticket is the most expensive at 90JD. And, by the way, they don’t take plastic. Take your time and explore. Hike the debated 850 steps in the morning to the Monastery building. The panoramic view on the top is breathtaking. Ancient steps framed with distant melted honeycombed sandstone canyons and juniper tree’s just hanging onto the craggy cliffs. From there you can also see on a distant hill-top, Jabel Haroune, Moses’ brother Aaron’s tomb. Best time to visit is late in the day or early in the morning. I went in the off-season over Thanksgiving; the weather was great and we almost had the place to ourselves.
Sharing tea with the Bedouin
Meeting and sharing tea with a Bedouin family in Petra, Jordan, was one of the most enlightening cultural experiences I’ve had. It also required exercising a great deal of patience.
Exceptional camel ride
We went to Petra on a perfect day. Temps in the upper-70s, clear skies, very few visitors. Because of the lower visitor numbers a camel driver offered a lower price for a camel ride all the way through the entire Petra valley, about three kilometers. It was an amazing experience. At the end he arranged for a friend to take us back to the main entrance in a pickup truck.
Explore Ancient Ruins
There are thousands of caves and hundreds of ancient buildings here carved into the stone walls. It is an amazing place to explore and discover. I felt very safe as a solo female traveler. Just a word of caution though, the bedouins will try to charm you...you can be open, to meeting them, but remember to set for boundaries.