A Day in Petra Jordan the Lost City

 

A Day in Petra Jordan the Lost City - Lucy Williams Global

In Jordan, I went to explore Petra the Lost City, one of the seven wonders of the world. If you have not heard of Petra the Lost City, you may have seen it in films such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Arabian Nights or The Mummy Returns.

It was a fascinating and tiring day. I walked 10km (6 miles) around the lost city, but it was worth every step I took, even if I ended up with huge blisters on the back of my heels!

Aqaba

We sailed into Aqaba, located at the southernmost tip of Jordan on the Red Sea and it is Jordan’s only seaport. The tour bus drove us from Aqaba through the arid desert to Petra.

It takes two hours to get to Petra and there is nothing but desert and the odd Bedouin tent or the new houses of the Bedouin settlers.

The Bedouin are the travelling people of Jordan, they used to travel from place to place for food and water.

The desert landscape does change though from; sand dunes to sandstone rocks and mountains of wild herbs (chamomile, sage, etc.) growing in the desert.

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Petra the Lost City

Petra is hidden in the sandstone mountains and is believed to have been built as early as the 312 BC.  The lost city was unknown to the western world until 1812 when the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt introduced it.

It was only known by the Middle East as Petra was a major trading hub of Arab Nabateans.

As soon as you enter Petra you feel you are in a different time as you walk down the uneven path and see tombs straight away.

The people of Petra believed your second life was better than your first life so you needed a beautiful tomb to be buried in.

The tombs are carved into the sandstone rocks. The first impressive tomb we saw was the Obelisk Tomb and the Bab el-Siq Trielinium from the 25 – 75AD era.

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We walked on to the entrance called the ‘The Siq’ which is a natural narrow gorge that winds towards the ancient city of Petra which is around a 2 km (1.2miles) walk.

The Siq is a magnificent sight that is so tall with the sandstone showing off its different shades of colour. The rock is smooth and in some parts each side is nearly touching the other.

The Siq

On the way, there are some carvings throughout the Siq and there are the original water pipes on each side of the Siq that carried fresh water to the city from springs. The Nabateans were known for their great ability to construct water collection methods.

Petra was a bustling city that had a constant procession of travellers, visitors and pilgrims, that passed through the Siq.

The Treasury

As you get towards the end of the Siq you can see a glimpse of Al Khazneh which is also called ‘The Treasury’.

Between the two sides of the narrow Siq and you can’t quite believe your eyes how something so old is still standing and has been so well-preserved.

When you get the full view, it is spectacular. It was built-in the 100 AD era. This is the busiest part of Petra as this the most photographed. From this point, you can get a camel ride.

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Tombs

Then Petra gets really interesting as soon as you turn the corner from the Treasury there is tomb, after tomb. Not as in such good condition as the Treasury but still fascinating.

All carved into the sandstone and is still standing, after earthquakes and flooding. They called this area the Streets of Facades from the era of 50 BC – 50 AD.

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As you keep walking you come to the Main Theatre that is a Roman style that would have seated 6000 people completely carved into the rock from the era of 25 AD – 125 AD.

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Colonnaded Street

Further along is the Temenos Gate at the entrance of the Colonnaded Street built by the Romans between 100 – 200 AD.

They believe this street may have been lined with houses and the street hosted markets trading goods such as frankincense, myrrh, semi-precious stones, textiles and spices. This part of Petra was badly damaged by an earthquake in 363 AD.

Temenos Gate is an arched entrance to the Qasr al-Bint Temple which is at the end of the Colonnaded Street. Then there are a few more tombs, churches and temples. Archaeologists are continuing to find more in Petra.

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I did not see the whole site as it takes 4 days to see everything and walk along all the trails, but I saw most of it and still walked 10 km around the site.

From the entrance, you can ride a horse or take a horse and carriage. From the Treasury, you can ride a camel or a donkey to the Qasr al-Bint Temple.

I recommend if you visit Petra to wear comfortable shoes, such as walking/hiking boots as the surface is uneven. Bring a bottle of water or two as the dry desert is dehydrating and wear long loose-fitting clothing, a scarf and hat. Wear sunscreen as the sun gets very hot even if the temperature is not that high.

Aqaba has the most pristine coral reefs in the Red Sea so it is a great spot for diving and snorkelling. Just over an hour away you can also visit Wadi Rum which is in the desert and has a beautiful red landscape, soaring peaks and plunging valleys. It is called Valley of the Moon as it is like being on the Moon.

Essential Info

  • Climate: Desert climate warm all year round can reach up to 40*C.
  • Currency: Jordanian Dinar.
  • Language: Arabic/English.
  • Top Tip for Petra: Wear walking boots, scarf and hat.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Petra in Jordan. Please share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Have you been to Jordan? What did you do?

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

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A Day in Petra Jordan the Lost City - Lucy Williams Global

 

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10 Comments

  1. Anuradha Goyal
    February 10, 2018 / 5:30 pm

    Thank you so much for taking me back to Petra. I remember I walked more than 15-16 kms that day. Thankfully, a friend who had visited earlier told me to wear comfortable shoes and that helped. You have also mentioned the same. It is such a lovely rose city, but what impressed me most was its water management system.

  2. February 10, 2018 / 9:39 pm

    I was never aware that the entire site of Petra is so big that it can take up to 4 days to explore. I guess that’s because most of time you only get to see photos of ‘The Treasury’. Some of the other tombs remind me of places I have visited in Turkey.

  3. February 10, 2018 / 11:29 pm

    Petra is a bucket list design for me and your pictures make me want to go more then ever! I’m impressed you got 10 km walking in on a day trip!

  4. February 11, 2018 / 12:41 pm

    I’m dying to get there. For some reason I thought it was a lot oder than the 3rd century BCE. It’s good to know that it’s six miles of walking. That’s not a lot of me, but wiihtout the right shoes and hydrtion in the heat, that could feel like an eternity. I totally understand the blisters!

  5. February 11, 2018 / 12:43 pm

    Did you manage to see Petra at night? They light these lamps and the place looks amazing! Petra is such a unique wonder, I loved visiting it. The only pity was that it was VERY hot when I went and walking through the lovely ruins was painful with the scorching sun burning me down. The walk through the siq that finally reveals the treasury is so awe-inspiring!

  6. February 12, 2018 / 12:15 am

    Four days to see everything? GTK! I’m headed there in May, so will opt for the longer tour.

  7. February 13, 2018 / 11:00 am

    I’ve wanted to go to Petra ever since I saw Indiana Jones! I thought for years it was just a movie set, I didn’t realise it was a real place! I am a little worried about the heat though, even with a light scarf and hat i would still fry!

  8. February 13, 2018 / 2:22 pm

    Nice post with the basic information and best tips to visit Petra. Did you hike up to the hills? I bought a book inside the site with some hike suggestions and it was great to see other parts of Petra off the beaten path. Interesting to know that it is very easy to visit from (Egypt? Israel?) on a day trip.

  9. February 13, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    Petra is indeed fascinating. It is the stuff of dreams. We have not been there but hope to get there some day. The tombs and the treasury look so intriguing. Looking at the pictures, I wonder how the place would have looked back in time when people roamed the region. One sure needs to be prepared to do a lot of walking in Petra.

  10. February 15, 2018 / 5:27 am

    Your pictures are amazing! The Colonnaded Street seems like one direct out of history books! Sad that this part was the one to be damaged by earthquake. Thanks for the quick tips towards the end.

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