Petra Tour is a visit to one of the oldest heritage sites in Jordan, and perhaps the most famous. Petra was constructed by the Nabateans in as far back as 6th c. BC and also has Byzantine, Syrian and Egyptian influences that arose later on. The habitation of the area, however, dates much further back than that, where settlers came a thousand years before the beautiful infrastructure was carved. The reason why the region prospered after the Nabateans was mainly because of the well engineered water systems that allowed the community to preserve rainwater for use during the drought season.
During the Petra Tour you reach the beautiful pink carved structure and walk through a trail that goes between two pillaring rock mountains called the “Siq”. Along these mountain walls you will notice pipe like carvings on either side which is what the Nabateans used to collect what would have otherwise been flood waters. The intelligent natural engineering was unlike anything of its time, making Petra one of the first cities with a planned water infrastructure. Other things to make note of in the Siq is a particular point you’ll reach right before the treasury (Al Khazneh) is revealed, where you get a teasing preview of it, with all the light shadows of pink brightening the shaded tunnel, a magestic sight to see during your tour of Petra.
The Siq was not the conventional way into Petra back in the day, but rather a ceremonial passage used for religious purposes as it leads to the religious quarter of the town. If you have a good look at the eroded carvings on the various structures, you may see figures of the pre-Islamic Gods worshipped by the Nabataeans.
The city was a trading hub on the incense trail between Aqaba and Damascus, attracting bedouins from all over the region to visit and haggle their goods. Other functions within the city includes tombs, courthouses, a theatre, and a monastery. Not all the structures belong to the same era, for example there is speculation that the colonnaded street, which you can walk down during your Petra Tour, is the work of the Roman Byzantines in the 3rd c. AD.
The labels given to some building such as the treasury and monastery are in fact inaccurate. The treasury was either a temple or a royal tomb, but was speculated to have be a treasury because of an urn found in the top chamber. The monastery, on the other hand, would be more accurately described as a temple because of the polytheistic nature of the religion in the Pre-Islamic era, you will have the opportunity to explore all of these structures during the Petra Tour
Petra was voted as one of the seven wonders of the world under the New7Wonders campaign that released its results in Lisbon on 07.2007. Since then it’s witnessed a much larger influx of tourists, bringing more business to the region and eventually improving the visiting conditions. There is in fact so much to see and do there that you could easily spend four to five days exploring. To get a taste of the full experience, it is best to visit with one of our professional guides who specialise in Petra Tour.
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