BEST THINGS TO SEE IN PETRA, JORDAN
Petra is one of the most popular places to visit on the planet. Take a look at almost any traveler’s bucket list and Petra will be on it. Why? Because it really is amazing. But guess what. There is so much more to Petra than the Treasury, the iconic façade featured in every travel book and brochure about Petra.
Petra deserves two days to be seen properly. Yes, many people visit Petra on a day trip, spending only a few hours here, but they are missing a lot. To really experience Petra you need more time here.
WHAT IS PETRAPetra was the capital city of the Nabataeans from roughly 300 BC to 100 AD. The Romans took over in 100 AD, then several earthquakes destroyed much of the city and Petra was abandoned. For centuries, Petra was left untouched, until it was discovered by a Swiss explorer in 1812. Petra became one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” in 2008 and since then has been making the bucket lists of travelers all over the world.
BEST THINGS TO SEE IN PETRAStretching out in a line from the town of Wadi Musa, visitors enter the park and then follow the trail into the Siq, the legendary canyon where tourists get their first views of the Treasury. Continue the walk past the Treasury, visiting the Royal Tombs and Roman ruins. Those with enough time and enough energy can continue onto the Monastery, another monument that rivals the Treasury in its splendor. There are numerous other side trips and interesting things to see in Petra, as well as rides on camels and donkeys if you so desire.
Every visitor’s journey starts at Bab As-Siq, the trail that runs from the ticket booth to the Siq. There are tombs and monuments to see along the way, such as the Obelisk Tomb.
The Siq is a gorge that was formed when tectonic forces broke the mountain into two pieces. It is a delight to walk through, a snaking path with rock walls towering high above your head. It is almost suspenseful…around every bend you expect to get that famous view of the Treasury.
This is it, the view that draws so many visitors to Petra. Completely carved out of the sandstone mountains, the Treasury was built as a tomb for the Nabataean King Aretas III. The Treasury is the highlight of Petra, but this is only really the start of a visit here. There is so much more to see.
STREET OF FACADES
From the Treasury, the journey continues. The path widens, taking visitors to a much more open area. Here are tombs and houses built into the sandstone mountains by the Nabataeans 2000 years ago.
This is the view from the hiking trail to the High Place of Sacrifice towards the end of the day.
HIKE THROUGH PETRA
Not far past the Treasury, Mohammad took us “off-road” to unmarked hiking trails. The hiking trail is completely unmarked and almost impossible to follow if you didn’t know what to look for.
THE ROYAL TOMBSHere lies a series of facades carved from the sandstone mountain, the tombs of Nabataean royalty. This is the interior walls of the Urn Tomb, the most popular of the Royal Tombs.
THE COLONNADED STREETThe Colonnaded Street is a reminder of the Romans who took control over Petra in 106 AD. Those Romans were masters at building, and their road still remains today, along with several columns lining the side of the road.
THE GREAT TEMPLEThis Nabataean Temple was built in 100 BC and is the largest freestanding building in Petra.
THE MONASTERY (AL-DEIR)
This you have to see. It is just as impressive as the Treasury. Good thing, because it requires quite a hike to get to it.
The hike to the Monastery has visitors climbing over 800 steps for a solid 20 minutes or more of hiking. It is an almost entirely uphill journey. Along the way visitors pass numerous stalls, worked by women, selling scarves, souvenirs, and jewelry.
BEST VIEW IN PETRAFrom the teashop there were signs pointing us towards the “Best View in Petra.”
To get to the “Best View of Petra” required going on another short, uphill hike. What do you think? Is this the best view of Petra?