Petra – Jordan’s treasure city carved in rocks
The ancient city of Petra in Jordan is completely carved in rocks and considered one of the most important touristic sites in the Middle East. It was built in the 2nd Century BC and forms part of “The 7 New Wonders of the World” and has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. Each year, around 600.000 people visit the historical site carved in the rose-red sandstone of Mount Hor.
The UNESCO described Petra as one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage. In fact, entering the city behind an almost impenetrable wall of mountains is absolutely impressive and breath-taking. The imposing and majestic historical sites offer more than 800 individual monuments including a lot of buildings carved in sandstone. The only access is provided by the passage through a narrow 1,5 km long chasm. Also because of its water conduits system, Petra became the most visited tourist attraction of Jordan as well as a symbol for the hole country.
Approach to Petra through the Siq
Petra, the ancient capital of the Nabataeans, is situated in the governorate of Ma’an, about 133 km north of Aqaba and 262 km south of Amman. There are only two ways to enter the city: either via a small access path in the north-western part or through a gloom, cool and narrow gorge called Siq. Walking through the 1,5 km long and sometimes only 2 m wide chasm does not prepare you at all for the impressive and overwhelming view you are going the have once your eyes readjusted to the sunlight. Suddenly, the most famous monument of Petra, the Treasury appears in front of you. The building is completely carved in sandstone.
Monuments to visit in Petra
Walking through the city for several kilometers, the visitor can discover a lot more impressive facades carved in stone by the ancient inhabitants of the capital. The size of the city is quite surprising: Petra offers more than 800 different monuments – including temples, halls, colonnaded streets, tombs or baths. The historical site also offers a highly complex water conduits system that was used to transport water over 25 km long distances and included more than 200 cisterns.
How to visit Petra
Petra is best to visit in the early morning or the late afternoon. As the site is extremely huge, it will at least take a day or two to discover everything. The site is opened daily from 6am to 6pm. It is possible to hire a donkey or a horse and advisable to bring water and some candies with you.