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Discovering Petra, the jewel of Jordan

Petra, Jordan - February 18, 2020. Tourists near A-Dir Monastery, Petra's largest monument, Jordan. Petra has lead to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Petra, time has stopped. This city, grandiose and millennial, has nearly 3000 rock monuments. Fascinating, it has the particularity of being carved in the rock and is implanted in a setting of red cliffs. The wonderment grows with the visit, when its temples and its immense tombs are revealed to our eyes. Jewel of Jordan, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. A must see. 

The ancient city of Petra: where is it in Jordan?

During a trip to Jordan, plan to spend 2/3 days visiting Petra. That’s about the time it takes to tour this fabulous city! Located in the southwestern Jordanian desert, between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, the archaeological site of Petra can be reached from Kerak via the King’s Highway or from the capital, Amman, via the Desert Highway. Get the tickets beforehand, because yes, there is an entrance fee! As the place is very touristy, an early arrival is recommended. As a bonus, you will benefit from a very nice light.

 

The ancient city of Petra: what is its history?

If it is difficult to determine when Petra was founded, it seems that the first traces of its existence date from the 4th century BC. It would have been built by the Edomites, then occupied by the Nabateans. The Nabataeans were one of the richest Arab tribes and controlled a vast territory, stretching from southern Syria through Jordan to the northwestern part of Saudi Arabia. Because of its geographical location, at the crossroads of two trade routes, the ancient city of Petra was particularly prosperous.

Later, due to numerous earthquakes and a change in these routes, Petra was gradually emptied until it was forgotten. It was only in 1812 that it was rediscovered by the Swiss explorer Jean Louis Burckhardt.

 

The Siq, or corridor, is a sandstone geological canyon formation leading to the archeological park of Petra, with iconic stone carved temples and tombs in Jordan, Middle East

 

The ancient city of Petra: what are the must-see monuments? 

 

The Siq, or corridor, is a sandstone geological canyon formation leading to the archeological park of Petra, with iconic stone carved temples and tombs in Jordan.

To access the site, you will inevitably pass through the Siq. A sinuous gorge of 1200 meters long, leading to the Treasury, also called Khazneh. This Nabatean tomb, 40 meters high, with its masterly facade, is the most famous monument in Petra. According to its dimensions and sculpted details, it would be destined to a king or a queen. Further up, continuing your walk, you will reach the Deir (the “Monastery”). There too, the show is there. The building is carved in a yellow sandstone rock and displays proportions almost similar to those of the Treasury. Only the façade is more sober. If you still have some strength left, climb up to the promontory of the Deir Mountain. The view of the Wadi Araba desert is breathtaking!

 

Other marvelous relics, including the Theater of Petra, are waiting for you in the hollow of these thousand-year-old rocks. What if you went to discover this jewel of Jordan?