Petra – a journey to the new world wonder
When you think of Jordan, you think of Petra – an enchanting ancient city carved into the rose-colored rocks of the Jordanian desert. The Nabateans, an industrious and innovative people, built Petra more than 2,000 years ago, which remains a symbol of their brilliance and mastery of architecture. Today, Petra is one of the world’s most spectacular archaeological sites and a must-visit destination for any traveler passionate about history, culture, and adventure.
I visited Petra in 2018, and I was immediately captivated by its raw beauty and rich history. To enter the city, visitors must pass through a narrow gorge called the Siq, which is over a kilometer long and offers glimpses of the city’s grandeur with every step. At the end of the Siq is the Treasury, an iconic structure that has become synonymous with Petra.
Once a thriving crossroads of caravan routes, Petra was an important city for the Nabateans and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city boasts a host of tombs, temples, baths, colonnaded streets, and a huge Monastery from the 1st century, along with networks of water capture, storage, transport, and irrigation systems. Despite being rediscovered in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt, archaeologists have only uncovered 15% of the sprawling site, leaving much of its history shrouded in mystery.
For centuries, Petra resisted conquerors and was considered unconquerable. But eventually, it fell into the hands of invaders and the Nabateans vanished. Today, Petra is a thriving tourist destination, bringing in more income for the country than its oil reserves. The famous site has also made appearances in Hollywood movies, with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade propelling it back into the global limelight.
Petra is a magical place that transports visitors to a world long gone, where the past is preserved in stone, and the beauty of nature is revered. Its intricate architecture, stunning rock formations, and rich history make it one of the most impressive sites in the world. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-timer, Petra is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Tips for Visiting Petra:
Exploring Petra, the ancient city of the Nabateans, is a dream come true for many travelers. But with so much to see and do in this massive site, it can be overwhelming to plan your trip. Here are some tips to make the most of your visit to Petra:
Plan ahead: Petra is a large site, and you’ll need at least a full day to explore it. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, bring a hat and sunscreen, and plenty of water.
Get there early: Petra opens at 6 am, and it’s best to arrive early to avoid crowds and the heat of the day. Plus, the early morning light is perfect for taking photos.
Hire a guide: To get the most out of your visit, consider hiring a local guide who can provide insights into the history and culture of Petra. They can also take you to some of the lesser-known spots in the site.
Take your time: Petra is a unique site that requires time to explore. Don’t rush through it, take your time and soak in the atmosphere and beauty of the ancient city.
Visit at night: Petra at night is a magical experience, with the site lit up by candles and starlight. The night tour is an unforgettable experience, but make sure to book in advance.
Be respectful: Petra is a sacred site, and it’s important to be respectful of the local culture and customs. Dress modestly and be mindful of your behavior while visiting.
Support local businesses: Petra is a vital part of the local economy, and supporting local businesses is a great way to give back. Buy souvenirs from local vendors and try some of the delicious food in the area.
By following these tips, you’ll have an unforgettable experience exploring the ancient wonders of Petra.
How to get to Petra
Petra is located in southern Jordan and can be accessed through several means of transportation. The nearest airport is Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, the capital city of Jordan. From there, visitors can either take a taxi or rent a car to drive the 235 kilometers to Petra, which takes approximately 3 hours. Another option is to take a bus from Amman’s Abdali station to the Petra Visitor Center, which runs daily and takes about 3.5 hours.
For those who prefer more convenience, many tour companies offer guided tours to Petra from Amman and other cities in Jordan. These tours typically include transportation, admission fees, and a knowledgeable guide who can provide insights into the history and culture of Petra.
Once visitors arrive at Petra, the site can be explored on foot or by horseback or camel ride. The site is quite extensive, and it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Visitors can also hire a local guide who can provide detailed information about the site’s history and significance.
Overall, reaching Petra is not difficult, and visitors have several options to choose from depending on their preferences and budget. Whether traveling independently or with a tour group, the journey to Petra is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
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