Petra and its secrets, what will be revealed?
Petra is the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jordan and it is incredible. Be prepared for dust, dirt, heat, rain and what else the weather can throw at you. What does Indiana Jones and Petra have in common? If you watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade you will recognise the rock formations in that movie with the unusual rock formations, tombs and temples in Petra. You could say that Indiana Jones put Petra back at the top things to see in the world – it is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site it is one of the New Wonders of the World that was chosen by over 100 million people in 2007.
We have visited the incredible Chichen Itza in Mexico but Petra could be our favourite.
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(Editor Update September 2019)
Where is Petra
Petra lies a 3-hour drive south of the capital of Jordan, Amman.
History of Petra Jordan
Petra City was constructed by the Nabataeans in the Persian Empire around 6th Century BC. It was the heart of the desert trading centre, the Nabataeans being keen traders in spices, textiles, perfumes and incense. A major earthquake destroyed much of Petra during AD363. It is understood that the earthquake coupled with the changes in the trading routes left Petra city abandoned by its people. Johannes Burckhardt a Swiss explorer set out in 1812 to rediscover the red city known as the Lost City of Petra.
On the way to the Treasury, you will be offered rides of all sorts. We laughed at the men offering donkeys to ride, “they are air-conditioned” they said. In regards to carriage rides, we say “think twice about a carriage ride as the horses’ hooves slip and slide on the ancient pathway, as they try to right themselves around each bend.”
Nothing prepares you for the sight of the Treasury as the Siq opens up and it is right there in front of you standing 40 metres high. You stand and gasp in wonder at the sight of the columns of this 2000-year-old monument, and wonder how on earth did they build this. The Treasury is also known as Al Khazna. It is believed that the Treasury was constructed in 1st century BC and made out of iron-laden sandstone. It was built as a tomb for King Aretas III. One of the secrets is that the Treasury was named and built for one of the Pharoahs to hide his treasures.
We came across visitors who thought that Petra was just the Treasury. They were surprised that we had a 3-day ticket and that there was so much more to see. Don’t do Petra in a day, or two, take your time. There is much to see. Many steps to climb, awe-inspiring monuments to view as you wander through narrow gorges.
We enjoyed the Treasury but our favourite was The Monastery. It is a challenging walk to get to the Monastery but you forget the number of steps you have climbed and the incline when you reach it. In fact, there are 800 steps, not counting of course. The Monastery dates back to the 1st century AD.
Award yourself a cup of Mint Tea whilst you wonder at the beauty. Opposite the Monastery is a tea house and it is worth the time spent sipping your Mint Tea and just looking at this important Peta Monument.
There are many shops scattered around Petra, even on the many steps you have to climb to reach the Monastery. These incredible women climb the steps every day to set out their stalls, through the heat, the rain and the strong winds just to make enough to support their families.
Tomb of the Roman Soldier.
The internal view of the Tomb of the Roman Soldier. This is one of the best-preserved tombs and archaeologists believe it was constructed in the 1st century AD.
The entrance to the Tomb of the Roman Soldier.
The High Palace of Sacrifice.
It is one of the highest viewing points within Petra, it is an upward climb of about 40 minutes. We left this till the second day. There are two ways to return the first is to travel down the way you came or take the route at the back of the mountain that takes about 2 hours, it is worth it just to see the amazing colours of the rock formations on the way.
The Urn Tomb
Built high on the side of a mountain, the Urn Tomb is one of the Royal Tombs constructed around 70 AD.
The Amphitheatre was constructed out of the mountainside to seat over 8,500 people in the 1st Century AD.
The secrets of Petra? There will be more secrets revealed as they excavate more of the Lost City of Petra. Only a small part of Petra has been excavated, there are new discoveries happening every day. The Nabataeans were advanced in “water harvesting” especially in the dry desert conditions of Petra. During their wet season that were able to collect water in the channels that they had carved out of the rock formations, the channels were similar to aqueducts. Apparently, they even sold the water.
Where To Stay In Petra
We would recommend combining a night in the Bedouin Tent for the experience as in the morning they drive you to the Entrance of Petra as well. It is a fun night eating dinner around the campfire. The Rocky Mountain Hotel has the best views over Petra in the evening so we would recommend staying the rest of the time there. It is in walking distance to the Entrance.
Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp
Rocky Mountain Hotel
Getting to Petra
We were staying at the Amman Pasha Hotel in Amman. We would recommend the Amman Pasha Hotel. The restaurant served excellent food and at night there is entertainment from the staff, which you should not miss. They arranged for a driver to collect us from the Airport. Many travellers were staying there on the first night and we got chatting with a New Zealand couple who hired a driver to take them to Petra visiting the sights along the way. They asked us to join them to help split the costs. It was a perfect outcome. We had considered taking the bus the next morning with a very early start but we would recommend that you try and do the same. We arranged for the driver to bring us back from Petra and take us directly to the airport. He was very knowledgeable.
As we will probably not return to Petra there are 2 things that we feel we should have done. One is to hire a guide and the other is to visit Petra at night.
We also should have combined Petra with a visit to the Dead Sea. There are many resorts available and they are only a 1-hour drive from Amman.
Tours To Petra
Entrance Costs for Petra
Entrance Costs: Tourists who stay overnight in Petra pay the following: (Prices are valid as from September 2019)
1 Day JD50
2 Days JD55
3 Days JD60
Day visits on a tour without staying a night JD90.
Do you need a Visa for Jordan?
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To Travel Too Travel Shop – What To Wear In Petra
We recommend a good pair of walking shoes, hat, sunscreen and plenty of water. Also a scarf would come in handy for the dust storms that develop during the day. Check out our travel shop we have the products that we have suggested.