Continually voted the top attraction in Jordan, the “lost city” of Petra is often referred to as one of the ancient wonders of the world.
Petra Jordan is by far the best known tourist attraction in Jordan and is considered a national treasure. Now a UNESCO World heritage site, one of the ancient wonders of the world is located 3 hours south of Amman.
Established sometime around 6th Century BC the city
of Petra Jordan was the capital of the Nabataeans. The
city acted as an important economic crossroads for Persian
and western Arabian trade routes. In particular, it was
a key route for the importation and exportation of silk
and spices between China,
India, Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.
Sometime after the 14th Century this centre piece of the Nabataean dynasty was abandoned and forgotten by the western world. It was not until 1812 that a Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt re-discovered it.
Petra tours entering the location of the city have to pass through 1 km of a winding narrow gorge or Siq. As you journey through soaring vertical cliffs on either side dwarfs the Siq visitors. After weaving through the sheer pink tinged rock faces you finally glimpse the Al-Khazneh (treasury), the entrance to which has been carved into a sheer rock face. This intricately carved facade is believed to have been built in the 1st Century to house the tomb of a Nabataean King.
The Petra site reached new heights of fame when it featured in a 1989 Hollywood film, Indiana Jones and the last Crusade starring Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. Petra tours by night offer a uniquely magical experience as 2000 burning candles lead visitors through the underground rooms to the treasury.
A particularly charming way to visit the site is by a horse drawn cart. Special permits are issued for an extra fee from the visitor centre at the entrance to the 1 km gorge to enable you the experience. To add an even more exciting dynamic to Petra vacations, once inside the historic site you can rent a donkey or camel to do the walking for you. Both come with handlers and take specially designated routes throughout this inspiring attraction in Jordan. Although you can easily walk the 1 km route with the humid and hot temperatures resting your weary legs proves a good option.
Petra Jordan is continually voted one of the wonders of the world by visitors and is best visited in either early to mid morning or late afternoon. During this time, the sun’s position enhances the natural colors of the rocks, giving it a warm glow and offering the perfect time to take photographs.
Inside the site, artists from the local town of Wadi Musa and a close by Bedouin settlement sell handicrafts including pottery and jewelery.
Sitting pretty high above the Petra valley is the Ad-Deir Monastery which is accessible by a steep climb up 800 odd steps and is well worth the effort. Up here is also a 3000 seat Roman styled theatre.
In addition to the main attraction, there are scores of intricately carved out tombs littered throughout the Petra Jordan valley. Incorporating time into Petra tours to visit the archaeological museum and Nabataean history museum will add depth to Petra vacations and your visit to Petra Jordan, with a fascinating insight into its past through a colorful array of archaeological finds.
With fascinating rock formations and Roman temples and sacrificial alters, Petra vacations demand at least a few days of your time to fully explore this popular attraction in Jordan.