Petra is the legacy of the Nabateans,
and the jewel of the desert, where you can see the Rose-Red beauty
carved in rock. Petra's main claim to fame was as the capital
of the Nabatean Empire from the 4th Century BC to its absorption
by Rome in 68 AD. It is a terrible waste to come from a long distance
and then just visit certain sites, some of the other areas of
Petra you should visit are: Ad-Deir (the Monastery)--the largest
carved facade, it is basically a whole mountainside carved into
a temple overlooking Wadi Araba and (on a clear day) the Sinai.
The High Place of Sacrifice--the altar and worship areas are carved
from the top of this mountain, which is centrally located to give
you a wonderful panoramic view of the Petra center
Set in a deep canyon and only accessible through a narrow winding
cliff (or siq) in the rock, Petra is carved from sandstone that
takes on deep rusty hues interlaced with bands of grey and yellow.
The most famous ruin is the Khazneh, or treasury, whose beautifully
carved facade is the first thing you'll see when you enter from
the siq. The monastery is equally imposing, and if you climb to
you'll get stunning views. Other ruins include an 8000-seat amphitheatre
and the Temple of the Winged Lions, still in the process of excavation.
The area surrounding Petra is on a very steep development curve.
Petra itself and the neighbouring village of Wadi Musa are crawling
with hotels and there are plenty more underway. There are also
many of places to eat, ranging from markets through street stalls
to expensive restaurants. If you don't want to stay over, you
can do the 250 km day trip from Amman, but this option is definitely
only for those with very limited time.
It's hard to overrate Petra. There is no other sight in Jordan,
or perhaps the whole Middle East, as compelling. Once the capital
of the Nabateaeans, a 3rd century BC Arab dynasty, Petra is a
stunning city carved from a cliff face. Forgotten for 1000 years
and only rediscovered in 1812, Petra raised its public profile
with an appearance in the movie Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade.
up to 3000 people come here every day