"Voted one of the 7 new wonders of the World there is plenty of history to delve into in this city..."
In 2007 Petra was voted one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, and a visit to this endlessly fascinating city quickly reveals why. The ancient metropolis combines architecture with panoramic views and great natural beauty and exudes a captivating atmosphere of mystery. Its dramatic mountain location, the magnificent way that it is carved into the mountain and the sheer beauty of the architecture will leave you breathless.
Explore awe inspiring constructions carved into the famous pink rock in Roman times and discover remains of the ancient Nabatean culture. From the first approach, a trip to Petra is truly magical. The city can only be accessed via the Siq, a narrow gorge of over 1km featuring stunning rock formations, which ends on the doorstep of AlKhazneh - the Treasury - one of Jordan’s most iconic sites, made famous in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Petra can also be accessed from Aqaba, where a charter flight operates during winter. No trip to Jordan would be complete without seeing this majestic architectural marvel.
Note: As some sites in Petra require climbing steps and uphill treks, the resort may not be suitable for people with walking difficulties.
Petra Travel Guide
At A Glance:
An ancient city located between Jerusalem and Amman and combined with the fact that it is located about halfway between Damascus and the Red Sea, it has been a trading hub for most of its history. It is nicknamed the Rose City, due to the unique colour of the stones used in its buildings and is the ideal destination for anyone who is interested in history. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and continues to be Jordan’s most popular tourist destination.
Combining natural extremes to generate a unique climate, it is located on a mountain in the middle of a desert, making for hot summer and cool winters. The best times to visit are between April and June and September and October, when the heat isn’t as oppressive as in the months of July and August. Contrastingly the winters can be very cool (especially in the evenings), thanks to the combination of mountains and desert.
History and Culture
Its long history dates back to around 10,000 BC, although its creation in recorded history was done by the Nabateans, a Bedouin tribe, who used it as a trading post. It was attacked by the Greeks after the death of Alexander the Great in 312 BC, who saw it as the perfect addition to their empire thanks to its fabulous wealth. However, its mountain location meant they were repelled and the Bedouins built the famous mountain walls that stand to this day. The city was eventually conquered by the Romans in 106 AD and they ruled it until the 4th century when a large earthquake damaged many of its buildings. The Byzantines then took control of it, until it fell into disrepair in the 8th century and was largely abandoned. The city was then rediscovered in 1812 by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, who disguised himself as a Bedouin to sneak in. This rediscovery brought much attention from Western Scholars who began excavating the ancient city. It was named one of the ‘Seven New Wonders of the World’ in the 2000’s and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of incredible importance.
Any child who is interested in history is bound to enjoy Petra’s spectacular and now abandoned city, which is carved into the mountainside and is almost certain to inspire awe in them. Another good option with children is the Shobak Castle, which was built by the crusaders and is well preserved allowing the story to come off the page for them.
Tours and Attractions
An ancient wonderland it will take you back in time to a civilization of impressive skills. The entire city is a world heritage site that is cut into an imposing mountain face and tinged with red, giving it the nickname the ‘Rose City’. The remarkable carving skills on display in things like the Royal Tombs; the stunning views from the High Place of Sacrifice and the sheer drama of the mountain gates, known as the Siq, all make for an incredible experience that is bound to remain with you forever.
Petra is a historic city located in the desert, meaning that there is not much nightlife to speak of, save for the hotels and resorts that provide access to it. There are bars and restaurants around, but it is definitely the kind of place you go to explore and gaze at in wonder, rather than a party capital.