Arguably the most iconic image of Jordan today, the ancient Nabatean city of Petra is one of the oldest and most impressive heritage sites in the country.
Constructed by the Nabateans in the 6th c. BC, the rose red city – as it is affectionately known – is spread out across a vast area of rocky land interspersed with the remains of ancient temples and carvings. Visiting the entire site in only one day is ambitious; however there are a handful of hot spots that can’t be missed while exploring the area.
The Petra experience begins at the narrow trail that carves its way between the vertiginous sides of the valley. This is the Siq; whose walls are adorned with ancient Nabatean carvings of pre-Islamic Gods and whose intelligent natural engineering shows the ingenuity of the people, and makes Petra one of the first cities with a planned water infrastructure.
At a certain point, the Siq widens and there before you the famous Treasury (Al Khazneh) is revealed. Perhaps the most famous of the Petra rock carving facades, the Treasury’s evocative beauty is matched by other stunning sites within Petra such as The Monastery, The High Place of Sacrifice, The Theatre, The Royal Tombs and The Colonnaded Street.
Once an important trading hub on the incense trail between Aqaba and Damascus, today Petra is one of the New7Wonders of the world and a trip to Jordan is incomplete without visiting this awe inspiring historical monument to an ancient civilisation – long gone, but never forgotten.