Visiting Petra is like stepping back in time. The city was built by the Nabateans, an ancient civilization that inhabited the area over 2000 years ago. They were skilled in carving structures into the sandstone cliffs and creating an elaborate system of water channels to support life in the desert. Petra was a thriving city that served as a trading hub between the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, and Syria.
Today, Petra is a well-preserved historical site that offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The city’s most iconic structure is the Treasury, a magnificent facade carved into the rock face. The Treasury is just the beginning of the journey through Petra, and there’s much more to explore beyond it.
Getting to Petra
Petra is located in southern Jordan and can be accessed by air, road, or sea. The most convenient way to get to Petra is by flying into Amman, Jordan’s capital city. From there, you can take a taxi or hire a car to get to Petra. The journey takes about three hours and is a scenic drive through the desert.
If you’re short on time or prefer a more luxurious experience, you can take a private helicopter ride to Petra. The helicopter ride takes about an hour and provides a breathtaking view of the desert landscape.
Another option is to take a cruise to Aqaba, a port city located on the Red Sea. From there, you can take a taxi or hire a car to get to Petra, which is about a two-hour drive away.
When to visit Petra
Petra is open to visitors year-round, but the best time to visit is between March and May or between September and November. During these months, the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller. The summer months can be scorching hot, with temperatures reaching over 100°F, making it difficult to explore the city during the day.
The winter months are cooler, but there is a chance of rain, which can make the rock formations slippery and dangerous to climb.
Planning your visit to Petra
Before you visit Petra, it’s essential to plan your trip carefully. Petra is a vast site, and it’s easy to get lost or overwhelmed by the number of structures and trails to explore. Here are some tips to help you plan your visit:
Buy your tickets in advance: You can buy your tickets online or at the ticket office located at the entrance to Petra. It’s best to buy your tickets in advance to avoid waiting in long lines at the entrance.
Wear comfortable shoes: You’ll be walking on uneven terrain and climbing stairs, so it’s essential to wear comfortable shoes.
Bring plenty of water: The desert heat can be dehydrating, so make sure to bring enough water to keep you hydrated throughout the day.
Hire a guide: Hiring a guide is a great way to learn about the history of Petra and navigate the site. A guide can also help you avoid the crowds and show you the best viewpoints for taking photos.
Once you’re inside Petra, there’s a sense of awe and wonder that takes over. The first thing you’ll see is the Treasury, which is a 45-meter-high facade carved into the rock face. The Treasury is one of the most iconic structures in Petra and is an excellent spot for taking photos.
Beyond the Treasury lies the Siq, which is a narrow gorge that leads into the heart of Petra. The Siq is a natural wonder that’s over 1 km long and is surrounded by towering cliffs that reach up to 80 meters high. As you walk through the Siq, you’ll notice intricate carvings in the rock face and channels that were used to transport water into the city.
At the end of the Siq, you’ll be greeted by the Treasury, which is even more impressive up close. The Treasury is just one of many structures that were carved into the rock face by the Nabateans. As you explore Petra, you’ll see temples, tombs, amphitheaters, and other structures that reflect the ingenuity and artistry of the Nabateans.
One of the most impressive structures in Petra is the Monastery, which is located at the top of a steep climb up a series of stairs. The Monastery is larger than the Treasury and is another great spot for taking photos. The climb up to the Monastery is challenging, but the view from the top is worth it.
Beyond the Monastery, there are many other trails and structures to explore, such as the Royal Tombs, the Great Temple, and the Colonnaded Street. You could spend days exploring Petra and still not see everything.
If you want to avoid the crowds and experience Petra in a unique way, you can take a guided tour at night. The site is illuminated with candles, and the atmosphere is magical. You’ll also have the chance to see a traditional Bedouin performance, which adds to the ambiance of the experience.
Petra by Night
Visiting Petra is a journey through time and an unforgettable experience. The city’s ancient structures and stunning natural landscape are a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the Nabateans. Beyond Petra, Jordan is full of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the wonders of the world.
Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or nature, Petra has something for everyone. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in the beauty of the past and experience the wonder of the present. So pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to explore the wonders of Petra.