Petra is really breathtaking and you swill see why!
As I have written already about my adventure in Jordan, and all the great things I saw and experienced, I left Petra as a separate post since it deserves all the credit possible. Therefore I prepared some practical tips for visiting Petra for you, which can be helpful once you decide to go and visit Jordan.
WHY VISIT PETRA?
Petra is one of the Seven Ancient World wonders and UNESCO’s World Heritage Site since 1985. Word Petra means “stone or rock” in Greek, but often Petra is referred to as “Lost City” and/or “Rose City” because of the rose-colored sandstone hills.
It was discovered by Swiss explorer J.L. Burckhard in 19th century, after being hidden for 2000 years. It is said that archaeologists excavated only a small portion of it, maybe 15-25%, so I wonder what would it look like if all 100% were.
Petra was built by the Nabataeans, sometime around 312 BC, the main Nabatean language was Greek. And it was carved out from the sandstone cliffs into temples, houses, tombs…
Petra had a good strategic position and so was one of the wealthiest cities in its time. Large caravans were passing through, carrying gold, silk, spices… and the city was collecting fees from these trades.
Petra was linking Asia, Europe and Africa
INTERESTING FACT: With the well designed water-system, they were able to supply the whole Petra area with daily water supply, enough for all the residents (30,000), using a 200 km water pipe! The area also had 8 springs and various pools. They also had built an impressive rain waterfall system (re-routing of the water, channels and many other systems).
HOW TO GET THERE?
As I mentioned in my other post why Jordan should be your next adventure destination, I was driving from Amman to some other interesting sites and eventually to Petra. The driving takes few hours only. There are buses I am sure but the car is more convenient, if you can rent it. Taxi would be the most expensive option.
WHERE TO STAY?
We stayed in a place called Wadi Musa just near the Petra site, in a hostel, just for 2 nights. But if you are willing to spend more $$ I would recommend Movenpick resort Petra hotel or Petra Marriott hotel, which have breathtaking views of Petra from the hotel itself..
WHEN TO VISIT PETRA?
I should say that in general due to high temperatures, spring and autumn are the best times in a year to visit Petra.
Regarding the day, the best is again to be there as early as possible, as the gates open at 6h in the morning, so you get to see most of it by 12-13h when is the hottest period of a day, and with less crowds around. We were there around 6h30 – 7h already and believe me, many people do take this advice seriously so we were not the only ones.
There is a night tour of Petra from 8.30 pm to 10.30 pm when you can enjoy Petra by candlelight, which should be on your list too – but it is a completely different experience. At night it even cools down, so you need to bring some sweater with you.
TIPP: Prove that you are staying in Jordan for one night so to avoid paying double for entrance ticket. And such a daily ticket is about 65 euros now. There are some discounts also if you pay for 2-3 days or free for children under 12 years old.
SOME INTERESTING TIPS FOR THE VISIT:
- Wear comfortable shoes, and light clothes which is good for high temperatures – but do not underdress either – this is an still an Arab country.
- The whole walking thing takes minimum of 90 min.
- Don’t forget sunglasses, hat and small bottles of water with you.
- Treasury or Al-Khazneh is one of the most knows temple in Petra to be seen.
- To climb to see the Monastery, there are around 800 steps. You can hire a donkey to carry you up. I really didn’t want to torture the animal to carry me all the way up, and the locals were hitting them to move which I disliked. I was not fit at the time, it was quite hard to climb but I did it! Especially due to heat and steep steps.
- There will be locals around offering you souvenirs or tea / coffee, representing themselves as real Bedouins – which they are not. These are tourist traps just to get some $ out of you, but they are not dangerous or violent. Just politely say no, or accept tea / coffee, but in an open space with lots of people around.
- I even saw am old gypsy lady smoking joint, right there — I guess she was very bored with herself :-)!
- There are also some local guys offering girls to take them at night to the dessert to see the stars etc… .And I would recommend you to definitely decline this. Again, they probably want to just be polite and show you around, and mean no harm as they seem harmless… but you never know. So if you are only girls, better not to accept such proposals unless you go also with some guy friends.
- You will see impressive formations of rocks and changes in colors as the sunshine moves around their surfaces. I was amazed with the texture and colors I saw.
- In 1989 Petra was featured in the film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusader” starred by Harrison Ford. So one of the main souvenirs you will see is the Indiana Jones hat :-)!
PETRA BY NIGHT – AMAZING EXPERIENCE
Three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evening from 8.30 to 10.30 you can enjoy Petra by candlelight. It costs extra 22 euros, but it is worth every dime. This tour consists of walking (with a guide) through tunnel (Siq), all the way to the Treasury. There are candles along the path and once you reach the Treasury you sit surrounded with over 1500 candles and enjoy traditional music. It allows visitors to explore the Rose City for two hours after dark with some limitations.
Hope you enjoyed this post and if you haven’t been to Petra yet, I managed to tickle your interest. Let me know if any questions.
Yours, Classy Explorer