Travelling to Petra is a dream come true to many travelers, it is Jordan best known archaeological site and was voted as one of the new 7 wonder of the world in 2007 though the UNESC World Heritage Site.
Petra, meaning “rock” in Greek was the capital of the Nabataean City and Kingdom. As time went by Petra was lost to the outside world only being rediscovered to the west in 1812 by an eccentric Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt. Accessible through a narrow gorge (Siq) over 50 metres high in some places, visitors are met by a magnificent 30 metres high monument carved in the pink rock at the end of the Siq, known as the Treasury or Al Khazneh in Arabic. Petra enjoyed the peak of its prosperity during the 1st century BC when its city had 30 thousand inhabitants. During these time merchants travelled to Petra on camel caravans on their way towards Gaza and Syria on the silk spice route.
Although today many hundreds of thousands of people travel to Petra each year on holiday it was relatively still unknown in the 1980, as there was only one small hotel in Petra called Nazzal Hotel. The hotel was visited by Agatha Christie in 1933 where she wrote and based her novel “Appointment with Death”. But today Petra is easily accessible with the infrastructure in Wadi Musa the name of the town outside the archaeological site and with scheduled and charter flights arriving in Amman each day from around the world.
One of the main evening events in Petra is “Petra by night”. Visitors can experience the site from the main entrance until the Siq as it’s lit by candlelight only, a beautiful and amazing event. Petra by night runs 3 days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday so plan your tour to Petra to co-inside with these days.
A little history on Petra
Ancient Petra lies in the dramatic barrier of multicoloured sandstone mountains that run parallel with Wadi ‘Araba’. Formed by the primeval cataclysms that grooved the Jordan rift, the mountains where then sculpted by millions of years of wind, rain and earthquakes into the landscape of a dream.
During your tour of Petra you can see scattered among these exuberant forms of nature are some of the most prodigious works of man, carved into sheer rock faces some 2,000 years ago by the Nabataean, originally a wondering tribe from the Arabian Peninsula. No one knows when they first started travelling to Petra; it may have been as early as the 6th century BC, as traders moving along the route by which their most valuable trade goods - frankincense and myrrh- were carried from south-west Arabia, where they grew, to Gaza, for export to Europe.