Petra is reason alone to come to Jordan. As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Ancient City is a massive complex of ruins and tombs. Famous for rock cut stone that still marvel builders today, Petra was established as early as 300 BC. It was a major trading hub in the region, and was heavily protected due to the location and surrounding mountains. The site remained under control of the Arab Nabataeans until Romans took control in 106 AD. Declining in power during this time, it was heavily devastated by earthquakes in 363 and 551 AD. It was finally abandoned in 663 when Arabs conquered the region.
How to Get There
It is located in Wadi Musa. Wadi Musa is located three hours by car from Amman and just under two hours by car from Aqaba. There are buses (http://www.jett.com.jo/) from Amman for 10 JD.
When to Go
Visit during the spring and autumn when daily temperatures are manageable with warm days and cool nights. Summer temperatures reach over 100° Fahrenheit (40°C). The area also can get very cold in the winter due to the high elevation.
Plan to come for an entire day or longer. We walked over 12 miles from the entry to the Monastery and the overlook side hike. For the least amount of crowds, it is best to show up at 7AM. Each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings is the Petra by Night light show where lights are situated the entire Siq all the way to the Treasury. Give yourself a couple hours for the night show.
The entry cost is quite expensive, however the cost is fully covered by the Jordan Pass. If you are not intending to get the Jordan Pass, there are several options to purchase:
One day entry – 50 JD
Two day entry – 55 JD
Three day entry – 60 JD
Petra by Night – 12 JD (in addition to entry pass)
Little Petra – 2 JD
Just a short 15 minute drive from Petra, Little Petra can be seen in a couple hours. This is great to do the day before exploring the main site.
MAIN SIGHTS OF PETRA
The Siq – this long walkway cuts through a narrow gorge with an impressive water system running alongside.
The Treasury – the most famous building has a grand entry from the Siq. There are stunning features cut into the stone. The best view is actually from the overlook (see below).
Street of Facades – shortly after the Treasury, there are hundreds of tombs cut into the rock, an impressive view.
The Royal Tombs – some of the best artwork cut into stone is at the Royal Tombs.
The Overlook – this short hike starts behind the Royal Tombs. Head up the mountain and continue on the path to the end where a small shack with sign for the “Best View in the World” may literally be just that.
Theater – this roman style amphitheater is very large and was the main gathering place.
Colonnaded Street – these grand colonnades are in tact on this long street that was the main corridor and shopping area.
The Monastery – the furthest site and most difficult to get to, the Monastery may be the most impressive. It is massive and has beautiful artwork cut into the stone.
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Visited in November 2016.