Petra On Feet
Considered by many to be the eighth wonder of the world, Petra, famous for its deep pink rock facades is Jordan’s biggest attraction. Much has been written about this dazzling city, however, nothing prepares you for the experience that awaits you in Petra. The origins of the fabled “rose red city, half as old as time” can be traced to the seventh century B.C, a time during which Petra was the capital of the Nabataean kingdom.
Located between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, Petra functioned as a former trading city, tucked away in the mountains of southern Jordan. It was discovered by Westerners in 1812, by a Swiss explorer called Johann Burkhardt, masquerading as an Arab in Egypt. The classic experience of this 2,000 year old city comes in two parts. Firstly, there’s the 1.2 km walk or horse ride through a winding sandstone canyon, which is ultimately
followed by the iconic view of the sunlit facade of Petra.
Listed below are some of the must visit locations in Petra:
• Treasury: The towering canyon walls give way to the most famous of Petra’s remarkable facades, the Treasury, known locally as Al Khazneh. Carved in the first century B.C., the Treasury is 130 feet tall and representative
of Hellenistic and Middle Eastern architectural styles. The intricate figures and patterns carved between columns are particularly impressive.
• Monastery: Perched atop a plateau, Monastery or Ad Deir is the other famous facade in Petra. Larger than the Treasury, It is accessible only by climbing a winding trail of narrow steps.
• Tomb of Obelisks are a set of structures dating back to the first century BC. Five graves and four columns extend from the tomb, each measuring 7 meters in height. The ground floor represents a funeral hall that was used for holding celebrations.
Important Information About Petra
• Timings: Tickets to Petra are sold from 6 a.m to 4 p.m. in winter, and until 5 p.m. in summer. However, evening candlelight tours are held on Monday and Thursday nights.
• Admission Fee: The daily basic entry fee to Petra is 21 dinars, which comes to approximately about $30.
• How To Reach: Petra is a reasonably accessible city. The two nearest airports from Petra are Amman, which happens to be three hours away by car and Aqaba, which is a one hour drive. Royal Jordanian Airlines offers daily
service to Amman from New York, Chicago and Detroit. Tourists also have the option of accessing Petra can from Israel. There are two ways of doing this, either one can cross into Jordan by car or foot on the Allenby Bridge
east of Jerusalem and drive south or one can cross from Eilat to the port city of Aqaba and drive north.
Tips While Visiting Petra
• Guides, in all languages, can be hired through travel agencies or upon arrival.
• The basic tour of Petra is a 7.5-mile round trip on foot. So ensure that you wear a brimmed hat, apply sunscreen and take along a bottle of water.
• The best times to visit Petra are early morning and late afternoon, since midday temperatures can surpass 100 degrees in summer.