A Visiting Guide to the Ancient City of Petra, Jordan
Aug 28, 2019
With caves, tombs and temples carved from the top down, Petra tells us a story of a once thriving civilization lost in time and forgotten for good under the sands of the desert.
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” - John Muir
Places To Visit
A gorge formed during the shifting of tectonic plates which split the mountain in two.
Walk through its serpentine path, which was considered sacred by the Nabataeans, and it will lead to the Treasury.
Hand-hewn from the top down into the face of a pink sandstone mountain, it was built as a tomb during the 3rd century for Aretas III, the Nabataean king. It was later used as a temple.
Visiting the Al-Khazneh during the day is certainly breathtaking but pay it a visit at night and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll be guided through the Siq to the temple by hundreds of candles. The entire area is illuminated with candles, it is a sight to behold.
Climb 800 rock-cut steps to get to the top of the hill where the Al-Deir stands, second most popular monument of the ancient city. Its design is that of a simplified Al-Khazneh but it’s a lot bigger.
The Petra Theater
Built by the Nabataeans in 1st century AD, this enormous theater was carved out of rock and was originally capable of seating 3,000 people. After the Romans enlarged it, it could hold around 8,500 people.
The Royal Tombs
Just a few minutes downhill from the theater are the most impressive royal tombs chiseled out of cliffs. The Urn tomb, the largest one and characterized by the huge urn on the top, is definitely worth exploring.
Things to Do
Ride a Camel
Your trip in Petra can never be complete without riding a camel to the various attractions of the city. This is also an excellent way to get to know the Bedouins, who are the very definition of kind and humble, and learn about the city’s history.
Petra has various hiking paths carved out for tourists which you can take to get to the Al-Deir or to get the best view of the Treasury from above, and to get to other locations.
The “High Place of Sacrifice” is the ultimate vantage point if you are a sucker for good viewpoints.
Watch the Sunset
If you stay long enough at the Al-Deir, you’ll be able to enjoy the sunset. The splendor of the scenery is unparalleled and so worth it after the 800-step climb. The sunset at the Wadi Rum desert is just as spellbinding.
How to Get There
It’s a three hour ride from Amman, Jordan’s capital city; you can ride the daily bus or take a private taxi.
When to Visit
Spring and fall make for the delightful time to visit the city when the temperatures are mild and balmy. Summers, on the other hand, can be a bit unbearable due to the scorching heat.