The ancient city of Petra is a remarkable archaeological site in Jordan that has been a popular tourist destination for centuries. This Middle Eastern city, known as the ‘Rose City’ because of the pink-hued sandstone structures, is situated in a narrow canyon and provides a stunning visual backdrop to all who visit. Join us in exploring this hidden gem of Jordan as we take a look at the remarkable architecture, the surrounding area, and the culture that makes Petra the fascinating and enchanting site it is today.
1. Introduction to Petra
Located in the heart of Jordan, Petra is one of the world’s most remarkable archaeological sites. Thought to have been first settled around 9,000 B.C., it was an important trading center, capital of the Nabataean empire, and an integral stop in the ancient Spice Route. Many come to explore its incredible ruins, carved from sandstone and overlooking Wadi Araba and the Dead Sea.
- History: The Nabataean nation, largely comprised of nomads, settled into Petra in modern-day Jordan in the 6th century BCE. The Nabataeans were shrewd business people, adopting the local customs and creating a profitable trading network to transport goods including frankincense, spices, and copper.
- Architecture: What really makes Petra a marvel is its incredible architecture. Its sandstone structures – carved directly into the rocks – are an awe-inspiring amalgamation of Greco-Roman, Egyptian, and Persian influences.
- Attractions: Visitors to Petra can explore the small city’s many impressive monuments, including the Petra Visitor’s Center, the Khazneh, the Royal Tombs, the Roman Theater, the High Place of Sacrifice, the Petra Monastery, and much more.
Petra contains some of the most remarkable buildings and cultural artifacts in the world, and it’s no wonder that it has been named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Touring the ruins, learning about its rich history, and discovering the bright colors and stunning carvings of the sandstone monuments is an experience that history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike won’t soon forget.
2. Unearthing Historical Treasures
Known as the Rose City due to the pinkish hue of its sandstone rocks, Petra is a 2,100 year-old city that was carved into the hills in what is now Jordan, and is without a doubt one of the world’s most impressive hidden gems. The city is an incredible archaeological wonder, where you can explore the grandeur of its buildings, and delve into the fascinating culture and history of the region.
Exploring Petra’s monuments
What makes Petra so interesting is that it was built between 312 BC and 663 AD, meaning it has a rich variety of monuments to explore. The spectacular Treasury is a must-see, and one of the best known monuments in the city. This immense façade was carved by the Nabataeans into solid rock, and is a truly amazing sight. Other examples of stunning funerary facades in Petra include the Royal Tombs, Urn Tomb, and Corinthian Tomb.
The Roman-influenced stylings of the city are very evident in other monuments, such as the Nymphaeum, and the Great Temple complex. Of course, Petra is more than just buildings, as there are also two impressive and very sophisticated water systems; like the more well-known Qasr al-Bint, and the lesser-known Obodas Aqueduct, which supplies water through rock-cut channels to the city’s various gardens.
BDedicating time to history
Petra is a great place to spend time exploring and learning about the history and culture of the region. You can appreciate the engineering feats of the many ancient monuments, and find out more about the ancient civilization that built them. Additionally, there are plenty of sites to explore, such as the amphitheater, the old city ruins, and the Hidden Treasury.
One of the most impressive monuments in the city is El-Deir, an enormous monastery, which preserved the many scenes carved inside up until fairly recently. The monastery houses some important churches with magnificent carvings, as well as wider arched aisles and niches.
Petra is a timeless city that showcases the region’s fascinating culture and rich history, a must-see for the avid explorer. From the sheer scale of the rock-cut monuments to the atmospheric ancient cities, Jordan’s hidden gem is a captivating and unforgettable site.
3. Discovering Beauty and Culture
Petra is one of the most stunning wonders of the world and, in recent years, has become a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts and cultural exploration. Its vast and diverse landscape has inspired culture and myth since ancient times and continues to fascinate travelers and archaeologists to this day. Here are some of the highlights from exploring this breathtaking piece of antiquity:
- Red Rose City: The famous Red Rose City of Petra is home to some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring structures in the world. Ancient tombs, temples, and plazas are carved carefully from the rose-colored native rock and are surrounded by stunning mountains and canyons.
- Historical Insights: Exploring Petra’s ruins not only introduces visitors to an iconic ancient wonder, but helps to uncover the mysteries of its incredible past. From the great Obelisk Temple to the Al-Khazneh Treasury, it’s possible to get a firsthand look at how this Ancient City once looked and operate.
- Canyon Climbing: The landscape of Petra lends itself to some of the most breathtaking hikes and climbs. From trekking down the narrow gorge of Siq, to scaling the steep cliffs of Al-Habis Mountain, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventure to be had here.
If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, Petra is the perfect destination. It’s the perfect blend of landscape and culture, the perfect place to unearth the history and beauty of Jordan.
4. Revealing Local Cuisine
No tour to petra is complete without sampling the region’s delicious cuisine! Jordan satisfies hungry travellers with traditional dishes like mansaf and maqluba, the national dish made up of spiced rice, vegetables and meat.
Must-Try Eats in Petra
- Fatayir: an authentic Jordanian snack of thin pocket bread filled with minced beef, onion, tomatoes and spices
– Musakhan: a traditional dish of roasted chicken on a bed of caramelized onions, sumac, allspice, and saffron-scented rice
– Hummus mala’ti: a delicious variation of the popular dip served with yoghurt, garlic, olive oil, and sumac on top
– Mansaf: a lamb-based dish of boiled jameed, a preserved yoghurt, served with fragrant rice
Experience the Local Flavour
Taste the region’s classic dishes by visiting a specialized restaurant. Alternatively, try one of the local restaurants or food stalls that offer a simpler variety of Jordanian cuisine. Plus, you can always find a variety of international cuisines in local restaurants for a truly unique experience.
5. Exploring the Activity Scene
An exploration of Petra is incomplete without investigating the activities it has in store. Get a chance to immerse in the magic and majestic of Jordan’s hidden gem by trying the following:
- Hiking: From short walks to longer hikes, Petra is a great trail for amateurs and pros alike. With 4,000 steps leading up to the Monastery, you’ll be able to get up-close and personal with the magical enchantment of the site.
- Camel & Horse riding: Take the Bedouin experience up a notch by riding a camel or horse along the Siq. Whether you’re blessed just with the experience or want to get some shots of you atop a horse, you can make the most of this traditional adventure.
- Hot Air Balloon Ride: For the more adventurous kind, take this opportunity for a daring adventure and get a sweeping view of the entire city in one word-breathtaking.
- Night Tours: To make the most of these 2000 rock-cut monuments that come to life in the night, come experience the mystical night life of Petra.
From the legendary Mountains of Moab, to the iconic Siq canyon, Petra has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous journey or a traditional experience, these activities bring to life the hidden charm of Petra and its remarkable culture.
6. Recommendations for an Authentic Visit
When journey planning a trip to the hidden gem of Petra, there are specific recommendations to keep in mind in order to make the most of the experience.
- Visit in the Early Morning or Late Afternoon: For a more intimate visit, travelling in the early morning or late afternoon is recommended. The sunlight casts a unique hue on the ruins and temples, casting shadows and creating more dramatic backdrop for photography.
- Bring Plenty of Water: With temperatures in summer often reaching above 120 F, make sure to bring a considerable amount of water. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are also suggested, even being essential items, depending on the season.
- Note Ticket Prices for Tourists: Tourists may enjoy 50 Jordanian Dinar tickets, which will give them access to both museums and all important sites. If purchased separately, the prices can add up, so this is a great way to save some money.
- Hike to the Monastery: One of the more ambitious hikes in Petra is the Monastery, otherwise known as Al Deir. This ascent does take quite a bit of time and strength, but the gorgeous facade and views make it well worth the work.
- Visit in the Evening: Evening visits to Petra on certain days will also be rewarded with a special Sound and Light Show, often held outside of Al Khazneh. This is an unforgettable experience and well worth considering.
For an even deeper experience, there are several organized tours in Petra available, providing guides and additional insight to those with the time and inclination. In any case, visiting Petra is an unforgettable experience, one that is sure to stay in a traveler’s heart and mind for years to come.
Q: What is Petra and why is it considered a hidden gem?
A: Petra is an ancient city located in Jordan that dates back to the Nabatean civilization. It is renowned for its impressive architecture carved into the pink sandstone cliffs, including the iconic Treasury. Despite its historical and cultural significance, Petra has remained relatively undiscovered by tourists until recent years, earning its reputation as a hidden gem.
Q: How can one reach Petra?
A: To reach Petra, visitors typically fly into Jordan’s capital city, Amman. From there, it’s possible to take a direct bus or hire a private car to make the approximately three-hour journey to the ancient site. Alternatively, some travelers choose to combine their visit to Petra with a guided tour of other attractions in Jordan, such as Wadi Rum or the Dead Sea.
Q: What can visitors expect to see and do in Petra?
A: Visitors to Petra can expect to be awestruck by the stunning sandstone structures that dominate the site. The Treasury, Al-Khazneh, is undoubtedly the most popular attraction, but there is so much more to explore. The ancient city is home to countless tombs, a Roman theater, a monastery, and even a unique way to experience the site by horseback or camel. Additionally, hiking enthusiasts can venture along the trails leading to the iconic viewpoints of the High Place of Sacrifice or the Treasury Overlook.
Q: Are there any tips for navigating Petra?
A: Yes, exploring Petra can be quite an endeavor, so it’s important to come prepared. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as the site covers a vast area with uneven terrain. It’s also advisable to carry plenty of water and sun protection, as the desert climate can be intense. Be sure to wear modest clothing out of respect for the local culture and to preserve the tranquil atmosphere of the ancient city. Hiring a local guide can greatly enhance your experience and provide valuable insights into the history and significance of Petra.
Q: Are there any accommodations available near Petra?
A: Yes, there are several accommodation options available near the Petra site, ranging from basic guesthouses to luxury resorts. The town of Wadi Musa, located just a short distance from Petra’s entrance, offers a variety of hotels and guesthouses to suit different budgets. Staying overnight in the area allows for the unique experience of witnessing the sun setting on the captivating sandstone cliffs.
Q: Is it safe to visit Petra?
A: Yes, Petra is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. The Jordanian government takes great care in ensuring the safety and security of visitors. However, as with any travel, it’s always wise to stay informed and take necessary precautions. It is recommended to check the latest travel advisories from your country’s foreign office before planning your trip.
Q: Are there any nearby attractions to visit while in Jordan?
A: Yes, Jordan offers a wealth of attractions worth exploring beyond Petra. The stunning desert landscapes of Wadi Rum are a must-see, where visitors can experience the beauty of the vast desert through jeep or camel tours, or even spend a night under the stars in a Bedouin camp. The Dead Sea, with its unique buoyancy due to the high salt concentration, is another popular destination that provides a truly unique experience. Other notable sites include Amman’s Roman ruins and Citadel, the ancient city of Jerash, and the historic Madaba city known for its mosaic art.
Q: Is there anything else visitors should keep in mind when visiting Petra?
A: When visiting Petra, it’s essential to respect the historical site and its surroundings. This includes refraining from touching or climbing on the ancient structures, as well as following the designated trails to avoid causing damage to the delicate archeological site. Additionally, supporting the local community by purchasing products from local vendors and engaging with the culture can further enhance your experience.
Overall, a trip to Petra offers a remarkable journey through history and is an opportunity to discover the hidden gem of Jordan. Exploring Petra’s enigmatic landscape is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will leave you with memories that last a lifetime—it’s the kind of place that can both awe and inspire you. From its ancient monuments to its modern-day tours, Petra is truly a cultural hotspot that will both entertain and educate visitors from around the world. Whether you’re looking for a great way to experience the beauty of Jordan or just hoping to discover a hidden travel gem, Petra is sure to leave you with a unforgettable experience.