Well where do I start, the Lost City of Petra… I will be honest I didn’t realise just how big this magnificent Wonder of the world is. It meant I had more to explore and more to love once I found it out. Another honesty, after I had visited my only thing I wanted was bed – 42,000 steps throughout the 7 hours I was there…. This is why
What to wear and bring;
One of the 7 new wonders on World, famous for the scenes from Indiana Jones 3 (or is that just me who knows this), and the poster image for Jordan Petra is the one day if not the only part to go see in Jordan. Petra is believed to have been settled as early as 9,000 BC due to Jordan needing a Holy City, and it was possibly established in the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom. The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs who invested in Petra’s proximity to the trade routes by establishing it as a major regional trading hub (history buff moment over). The city was lost for hundreds of years due to how well hidden it is in the valley of Arabah until it was found again in 1812. Ever since it has become a bucket list destination, with over a million tourists a year. I honestly didn’t realise how far the treasurey and main area of Petra City would be, so make sure you rest, have enough water, and like walking. The views are stunning on the way, but the way in is the way out. You really understand why this place was hidden and lost for so many years.
The first impression was beyond what I imagined, it was a good 20 minutes walking through vertical cliffs valley known as (The Siq). to the first main building and most well-known, the treasury. The irrigation systems of the water which collects into the winding streams on either side shows the wisdom that even 2000 years ago were obvious. Then suddenly through the cracks you see the architectural carvings of the Treasury. The tones found in the stones, the bold shapes of the eroded rocks through time, For the avid Geologists and lover of colour tones you will love the walk to and from the inner most areas of Petra.
The treasury is the first time I squealed a little, actually a lot! The sheer size of it, the way you see it so subtly through the cracks of the Siq and then suddenly you understand the full size of the rock carved façade is just amazing. It’s like going back to when the city really lived and functioned, with Camels resting outside, the horse drawn carriages racing through and past, and the Jordanian people going about their daily business. You can not go into the Treasury for anyone who may thing you can go in due to its delicate state.
From here take a stroll down the Street of Facades, a row of over 40 houses and easily accessible tombs with carved exteriors, or hike up to the High Place of Sacrifice, where you can get an up-close look at its famous obelisks and sacrificing tables – all while surrounded by panoramic views of the rocky desert surrounding this area. There are stop points for refreshments at intervals throughout with a little shade, but also small shops too.
The Royal tombs on the way and the Temple make the walk to the start of the climb easier and so picturesque. The tombs are carved into the red and layered stone which in 2000BC were then Houses… now caves for the Bedwin people of Petra. The larger they are the more wealth the family had who had them commissioned by artists. These are some of the sites I didn’t expect to see in Petra so was a lovely surprise and addition to what I was already excited about seeing.
We gradually walked through the city, which is so much bigger than i ever expected. With a distance of 5km from the entrance to the Monastry of Petra found at the top of a mountainous hill . 1000 steps up to the top , about 8 stops on the way for water, half my body weight in sweat will get you to where the Monastry is found with beautiful flowers growing around it, and a café to treat yourself after THAT HIKE. You can hire a donkey to take you up but from the climb I would say it looked more uncomfortable than walking. On the way I wont lie it was tough, it was mid day (bad idea), over 35 degree heat, and only small areas of shade. Jordanian shops along the way with jewellery, rugs, scarves, but most importantly WATER! It took us about 2 hours to walk up to the Monastry and 15 minutes to walk down. Be aware there are a lot of flies due to the donkeys, and heat, so not the most luxurious glamourous hike.
In complete honesty, make sure you set off in the morning, early, or later in the day for less heat, and a more enjoyable hike ot the top. If you feel unwell, or are in a state of unfitness, I recommend either taking your tie to climb, or too maybe ask for assistance if to do it especially for more elderly visitors. Its tough!
One hike I didn’t do was the famous view overlooking the treasury valley (green Al-Khubtha Trail), it is a 2 hour round trip on average on the official pathway… With a café at the top for that well deserved drink, you can play with the kittens and soak up the views from below. This walk up is not for less able to try, its steep, rocky, sometimes slippery but they are carved out steps. For me it was too much after the hike to the Monastry but feel like the treasury itself is more than enough to not need to see it from another view, I suppose it depends if you want THAT SHOT! You will need to buy a drink from the café on the top, but so worth it!
Another trail is to the Aran tomb – buried on top point of Petra which is where Moses brother was buried. Its the highest point of the Canyon Valley and when driving around it can clearly see it on a good day.
We left Petra at 5pm (it closes at 6pm), however for the eager beaver there is a chance to see Petra by night and see the treasury all lit up this would cost you around 18 JD’s. Where they light hundreds of candles next to the treasury. It looks magical but depends how tired you are.
For others they opted for 2 day Petra pass which meant they could go back and appreciate the City in the early morning when it is cooler, and not as crowded for those perfect shots. It also means you have the energy to climb a little more if you were exhausted like I was after 1 day.
Hope this helps everyone, I loved it!