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Must go!
Rating 3.8 (172 votes)

Petra

Listed under Archaeological Sites in Petra, Jordan.

  • Photo of Petra
  • Photo of Petra
  • Photo of Petra
  • Photo of Petra
  • Photo of Petra
  • Photo of Petra
  • Photo of Petra
  • The Treasury
Photo of Petra
Photo by Sherry Ott
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I sighed and handed over my 55 Dinar ($77USD) to the man at the ticket counter; a hefty sum for an otherwise budget friendly country to travel through. This fee would buy me two days in the ancient city of Petra. He asked me to type my name in the computer and then handed me a ticket. I waited for more, but there was nothing more; not even a map. I walked away and thought “Geez, even at Disneyworld they give you a map!”

Luckily I had a little Jordan guide book which provided me some sort of map and I had plotted out my Petra walking plan the night before based on the guide book and some advice of people at the hotel I was staying in. It all looked rather simple. First I would go through the Siq, see the famous Treasury, then I would go to the High place of Sacrifice and down the other side to see Lion Monument, the Roman and Soldier Tomb. Next I would go through the Upper Market and head towards the Monastery, then the church, amphitheatre, and other tombs along the East cliff. That would pretty much cover Petra…a simple plan for the day.

It was my plan until I descended through the mile long Siq and stood staring in awe of the famous Treasury Building; then I knew I needed a plan B. I felt dwarfed by the rock formations that towered above me; the place was much larger than my little guide book map appeared. I should have paid more attention to the scale of the map. This was an ancient hiking playground; trails leading in every direction and all of them leading upwards. I was starting to sweat just looking at them. This was going to be a much more active day than I originally thought.

The buildings carved into the rocks were gigantic, ornate, and were the color of orange sherbet. The light was streaming through the rock formations providing an ethereal feel to the city. Tourists groups huddled around their guides listening intently as I tried my best to avoid them. But it was next to impossible, they streamed from the Sik and into the Treasury area as if it were a giant slide depositing them all at the bottom giddy from the wild ride. Vendors were immediately at your side selling you camel and donkey rides. Men were hawking jewelry and young kids raced up to you to show you’re their postcards. I wasn’t very fond of the masses of people; but it served me right for sleeping in. I looked around at all of the out of shape tourists and I decided to stick to my original plan and start climbing to the High Place of Sacrifice. I knew I could lose them as the steep flight of stairs would weed out the old and out of shape.

The High Place of Sacrifice was worth the climb; not only did I shake the tour groups, but it offered staggering views over Wadi Musa. It was a perfect place to sit down, have a snack and breathe in the fresh, crisp air. There were few tourists up here, a welcome reward after the challenging climb. After a short rest I continued down the other side of the mountain completely alone. I found myself surrounded by ancient tombs and absolutely nothing or no-one else. No merchants, no donkeys, no tourists…just me; I felt like Petra belonged only to me…and the occasional cat. I climbed around the tombs, inside them and generally stood in awe of my solitary experience in such a touristed location as much as I was in awe of the tombs themselves.

Written by  Sherry Ott.

Other expert and press reviews

“Petra: abandoned necropolis of temples and tombs”

Situated in mountainous terrain, the ancient city of Petra is an abandoned necropolis of temples and tombs cut into towering cliffs of red sandstone. Primarily known as the capital of the Nabataean culture during the centuries around the time of Christ… Read more...

Written by  Martin Gray. More on Petra from Sacred Sites

“Petra by Night in Photos”

See more on The Planet D Blog Read more...

Written by  Dave and Deb.

“Petra”

Petra is without a doubt one of the worlds’ great attractions and a must see when you visit Jordan! Carved out of the hills by the Nabataeans over 2000 years ago, as well as being a UNESCO world heritage site since 1985, Petra was voted one of the… Read more...

Written by  Inga Reitmann. Written by: Jordan Select Tours, offering tailor made tours in Jordan

“Purrfect Petra”

Petra’s modern day inhabitants are cats. They lurk around every monument as if they own the place. In many places they seem to blend in to their surroundings with their orange fur; the same color as the buildings. They are pros at ‘working… Read more...

Written by  Sherry Ott. Read more on Sherry's blog

“Petra”

'Inhabited since prehistoric times, this Nabataean caravan-city, situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, was an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. Petra is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by m… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

“Excerpt from 'Seventh Heaven'”

By Piers Moore Ede for The Guardian, First published July 14,exc 2007 ...Hidden in the heart of the Shara mountains between domes, pinnacles and castellated peaks is one of the world's greatest treasures. Forgotten for hundreds of years, interest in Pe… Read more...

Written by press. Full Artilce from The Guardian

“Well met by Moonlight”

By Mark Jones for the Telegraph First published December 20, 2004 An English couple sat on the steps of the theatre in Petra and surveyed the busy street scene with distaste. "Shame it's so noisy," he said. She pointed to the hawkers selling … Read more...

Written by press. Full Article from the Telegraph

“Excerpts from "In Historic Petra, Dazzling Sights for a Small Audience"”

By Michael Janofsky for The New York Times First published September 10, 2006 NO matter what you know of Petra — the Jordanian historical site famous for its deep pink rock facades and (to some movie fans) as the setting for the final scene in “Indiana… Read more...

Written by press. Ful Article from The New York Times

“Excerpt from 'Crossing Jordan'”

By Jonathan Pearlman for The Sydney Morning Herald First published March 6, 2004 ...There is something mystical about Jordan's endless desert plains. Perhaps this is why the country has had its share of Messianic and quasi-Messianic visitors. There was… Read more...

Written by press. Full Article from The Sydney Morning Herald

“Petra, Jordan: Rock of ages”

By Fiona Duncan for The Telegraph First Published June 14, 2009 We stand on the brink. My expectations of a long-anticipated journey to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (to give the country its proper name) are about to be dramatically fulfilled, … Read more...

Written by press. Continue reading on telegraph.co.uk

“Petra day trip”

 This was only a day trip, but having been there I truly feel that a day trip is just not enough. Sadly, however, this is not really an option when you’re as far away as we were in Taba, Egypt, and a day is a lovely taster of what could be exp… Read more...

Written by  poppy E.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Petra Day Trip

This was only a day trip, but having been there I truly feel that a day trip is just not enough. Sadly, however, this is not really an option when you’re as far away as we were in Taba, Egypt, and a day is a lovely taster of what could be experienced more fully. The true highlight of the day was seeing the treasury; it was breathtaking and built over a thousand years ago with technology that couldn’t be further from what we use today. I heard that the Bedouin people used to live there until about 30 years ago when the Jordanian government decided it should be preserved.

To get into the heart of Petra you need to walk about 45 minutes from the main touristy area but there are horse carriages running to and from Petra all the time, but it’s better to book them before hand. On the way back from Petra I also had the chance to stop in the port of Aqaba for an hour, the stalls in the markets were vibrant and colourful – the nuts tasted pretty good too. You could smell the spices for miles and miles. Truly a fantastic and tiring day out but again well worth the effort and money – it costs about £150pp and children under 15 get into Petra completely free.

I would like to go. It is my dream to visit Petra with my lover.

weather

Hi what will the weather at Petra and Jordan be like in March

1 Reply

Have a look at our World Weather Guide for the average temperatures - there's a link on the bottom of the page: www.worldreviewer.com/world-weather

The Eighth Wonder of the World - you'd be foolish not to see it!

1 Reply

Yes, I really want to go!

Petra

With its monumental façades sculpted out of solid rock, Petra is one of the world's most impressive open art galleries.

Petra was the capital of an ancient and powerful kingdom of the Nabataeans, in the first, second and third centuries BC. They built spectacular buildings and carved façades, with water flowing in every corner. After conquest by the emperor Trajan, Petra slowly declined under Roman and then Byzantine rule - a fourth century earthquake damaging much of the monumental architecture.

However, the remains of the ancient capital, preserved amongst the shifting sands and in the dry heat, became an object of curiosity amongst travellers in the Middle Ages, and was 're-discovered' by western archeologists in the early 19th century. Today it is a world heritage site, much featured in western romantic literature and movie-making.

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