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Petra

If Jordan is known for one thing, then it is the ancient city of Petra! The former city of the Nabataeans is all too often reduced to its treasure chamber “Khazne al-Firaun”. Because what many people don't know: The archaeological site covers an area of 70 km². So there is a lot to explore on this site! I can assure you that it's worth coming to Jordan just to visit Petra! Petra is not one of the new seven wonders of the world for nothing.

Tell me more about Petra!

The ancient city of Petra was once the capital of the Nabataean Empire. Although it is not known exactly when Petra was built, the city began to flourish as the central city of the Nabataeans from the 1st century BC. The trade in spices, frankincense, silver and myrrh in particular led to the city's wealth. Even after the city was conquered by the Romans, it continued to prosper. It was only when a major earthquake shook the city in 363 AD that it was abandoned. As a result, Petra was completely abandoned from the 7th century AD onwards and thus fell into oblivion.

It was probably the Bedouins who rediscovered Petra. But they kept the ancient city a secret. Nevertheless, there were rumors about “the lost city”. When the Swiss explorer Johannes Burckhardt heard them, he became curious. So in 1812, he disguised himself as an Arab and persuaded a Bedouin guide to show him the city. Thanks to his discovery, Petra became known beyond the Arab world. The fascinating city attracted more and more visitors. Today, Petra is one of the new seven wonders of the world and tourism would be unthinkable without it...

The impressive thing about the city is that it was carved out of pink sandstone. The Nabataeans used the massive rock and carved into it not only rock tombs, but also the famous treasury and a monastery. It is fascinating to see what this people built here at such an early date. The Roman influence cannot be overlooked in Petra either. You will find several temples and a theater from Roman times in Petra. These structures make the ancient city something unique that you should not miss out on!

What to see & Discover

Siq

The Siq is the path that leads to the rock city of Petra. It is very reminiscent of a canyon. The path through the rock walls, carved by nature and the Nabataeans, offers an impressive first impression and thus the perfect entrance to Petra.


Khazne al-Firaun

The treasury “Khazne al-Firaun” is probably the most famous sight in Petra. No site in the ancient city is visited and photographed more than the treasury. Khazne al-Firaun was originally built as a tomb for the Nabataean king Aretas III and is said to have housed hidden treasures.

Tip: If you want the popular photo from above with a view of the treasury, you have to walk up the Al-Khubtha path. It starts at the royal tombs and leads up a long rocky staircase to a plateau. From there, you have to follow the path until you reach a Bedouin tent.


Ad Deir

The Ad Deir Monastery is the site of Petra that I saw in Transformers 2 and that impressed me so much that I really wanted to go to Jordan. It is one of the most important sights in Petra. Incidentally, the monastery is just as impressive as the treasury, but there is less going on here. This could be due to the fact that you have to earn your way up 800 steps to see the monastery.


The royal tombs

If you walk a little further into the ancient city from the treasury, you will discover the old royal tombs to the right of the road. The tombs are ultimately large caves. They were decorated by the Nabataeans with impressive works carved into the stone of the facades.


The high place of sacrifice

From the Altar of the High Sacrifice, you have the best view over Petra! Although you will have to climb a few meters, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the ancient city at the end.


Petra by Night

Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 20:30, Petra opens its gates for a unique tour of Petra in the dark. The ancient walls of the Siq and the forecourt of the Treasury are then illuminated with 1500 candles. The tickets cost 17 JOD. Unfortunately, we were in Petra from Friday to Sunday, so we couldn't take part in this experience.


Other

I have only listed the most famous of Petra's sights. There is so much more to discover there. You can get a free map of the most important places at Petra's tourist information office! The sights are spread all over the city. Therefore, you should definitely wear comfortable shoes that will allow you to wander through the ruins for hours. You should also pack enough to drink, as the stores in Petra are very expensive. In midsummer, we also recommend a cap and sunscreen, as there is hardly any shade on the site. If you want to stay in Petra after sunset, pack extra clothes. This is because temperatures drop rapidly as soon as the sun is gone.


  Entry & Opening hours

Entry to Petra is not cheap at 50 JOD for a one-day ticket, but a visit to Petra is well worth the money. If you buy the JordanPass, the entrance fee is already included. The JordanPass has therefore already paid for itself with one visit to Petra.

Petra is open from 6 am to 6 pm in summer and until 4 pm in winter.


  Tip

If you want to visit Petra for two days, it will only cost you 5 JOD more. So make sure you buy a two-day ticket (55 JOD) or maybe even a three-day ticket (60 JOD)! Petra has so much to offer that you will definitely need more than one day to explore it all!


  Where to sleep

Our accommodation was called Juniper House and was located in Wadi Musa. We had a great apartment with breakfast included. It was clean, well furnished and warm. Our host was also extremely friendly. His family cooked us delicious, typical Jordanian food in the evening. We were treated to a little singing performance by one of his employees - a Syrian refugee. Our host made an extraordinary effort to give the Syrian a good life. That really impressed me. I can therefore highly recommend the accommodation.


One (small) request...

In Petra, you have the opportunity to explore the city on horseback, donkey or even camel. However, I urge you not to do this! The animals are badly treated and kept here. You can also ride horses and donkeys at home. And if you ever want to ride on the back of a dromedary, please do so in Wadi Rum. The Bedouins in the Jordanian desert keep camels much better.

So please refrain from riding for the good of the animal. Perhaps we can all do something to stop this cruelty to animals. Because where there is no longer any demand for the animals, it is no longer worth buying them in large numbers for tourism and keeping them in poor conditions. With a bit of luck, the animals will find a much better home!