hotel
Ionio Star Hotel
Petra hotel 76.35 USD
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El Greco Hotel
Petra hotel 79.45 USD
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Il Castello
Petra hotel 0 USD
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Irene Villas
Petra hotel 61.14 USD
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Astron Hotel
Petra hotel 65.27 USD

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Petra

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The Treasury (Khazneh)The Treasury (Khazneh)
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The Treasury (Khazneh)

Petra - the fabled "rose red city, half as old as time" - is a well known ancient Nabataean settlement in the south of Jordan.

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petra Travel Guide :

Petra

Understand

The capital of the Nabataean kingdom from the 6th century BC or so, the kingdom was absorbed into the Roman Empire in AD 106 and the Romans continued to expand it. Abandoned for unclear reasons several centuries later, the mighty ruins have been sporadically occupied by Christians, Arabs, Crusaders and visited by the occasional tourist ever since.

By far Jordan's largest — unkinder souls might say "only" — tourist attraction, the site was famously used for filming Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, copies of which play on repeat in all the hotels and guesthouses in the neighboring boomtown of Wadi Musa.

Petra

Get in

Petra

By bus

JETT buses, both ordinary and all-inclusive guided tour, connect to Amman and Aqaba. You can even do day trips from Eilat (in Israel), although it will be a long and rushed day.

Petra

By minibus

The minibus from Wadi Rum costs 3JD each and 1JD for a big bag. It takes 1.5 hours to get to Petra. Have the Rum Guesthouse or your tour operator call the bus owner the day before to arrange an exact time for pick up. The bus usually leaves from Wadi Rum at 8:30 in the morning, but may be delayed due to weather or tour groups coming the other way.

Petra

By taxi

Taxi is also a viable option - For 25 JD you may be able to get a private taxi from Amman to Petra and back, including the driver waiting around for 6 hours. It would cost 24 JD for the two to travel by JETT bus, and allow you to see almost the entire site in an (exhausting) day trip.

Petra

Get around

The only modes of transport allowed within Petra are on foot and by camel. Many camel owners await tourists at the entrance to the Siq, be prepared to bargain furiously and don't pay more than 10 dinar. there are also horse drawn buggies.

Camel or donkey transport should be seriously considered - it is a 2.5 to 3 hour walk uphill to get all the way to the "monastery" (which is definitely worth the effort!). However if you are reasonably fit and it is not summertime the walk is quite nice.

Petra

See

Eroded sandstone in the SiqEroded sandstone in the Siq
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Eroded sandstone in the Siq

All of the Petra is covered by an archaeological park, which charges steep fees of JD 20/25/30 for 1/2/3 day passes. Buy tickets at the Visitor's Center at the entrance to the park, not from dubious scalpers around town! If you've made the effort to get here, it's strongly recommended and better value that you get at least a two-day ticket. You can also hire a guide from JD 10 and up here, depending on what you want to see.

  • Entry into Petra is via a winding sandstone canyon several kilometers long, known as the Siq. Nothing much to see, but the patterns in the rock are beautiful.
  • Suddenly the canyon widens and you are treated to a jaw-dropping view of the Treasury (Khazneh), although according to modern archeaology it actually wasn't one. A gigantic facade carved from stone, there is actually nothing but a tiny room inside — a pattern that repeats itself through much of Petra.
  • Past the next bend is the outer Siq, a large canyon packed with tomb caves and their facades, some elaborate, some less so. The dominant feature is the 7000-seat Roman Theater, created by the Nabateans but enlarged by the Romans, and now once again used for (very occasional) performances.
  • On the side of the valley, a short walk up the hill, are the Royal Tombs. The name was given because they are quite grand in scale compared to the others in the area, but it is unclear who were originally buried here.
  • The Monastery (Ad-Deir), the largest carved monument in Petra, dates back to the 1st century AD. The interior, once again puny in comparison to the facade, was redecorated with carved and painted crosses in the Byzantine era. The site is a steep 45-minute hike up from the valley, and you can rent a donkey to do the grunt work for you.
Petra

Do

For the terminally energetic, there are a number of popular hikes around Petra.

  • The High Place of Sacrifice is probably the most popular. Named after the rock altars used for sacrifice, complete with channels to drain the blood, the real reason to visit are the views of Petra below. 1.5-2.5 hours round-trip.
  • The Mountain of Aaron (Jabal Haroun) is the highest peak in the area. At the top you will find a small church and the tomb of Aaron, brother of Moses. The route to the top and back goes past the Monastery and will take 4-8 hours depending on your route.
Petra

Buy

Also, if not recommended, it is possible to buy Roman and Nabataean coins.

Petra

Eat & Drink

There is only one restaurant in all Petra, at the far end of the outer Siq, which does a roaring trade despite the steep prices. It also has the valley's monopoly on beer.

For drinks hot and cold, there are a number of stalls and vendors scattered throughout the area.

There is a lack of shade in the ruins, and you can expect to go through at least 4 litres of water in a day (and more if you can carry or afford it). If you want, you can spend 6 JD on the most expensive water in Jordan at the top of the mountain.

Petra

Sleep

There is a bevy of accommodation in Wadi Musa, ranging from cheap backpacker guesthouses to five-star hotels. It is possible to get a night for 5-10 JD and a decent backpackers right by the sight.

Petra

Splurge

  • Taybet Zaman Hotel and Resort. Tel. 06-215-0111. Located in a renovated 19th-century village, this is quite possibly the best hotel and almost certainly the most stylish one in Petra if not all Jordan. The 105 guest rooms are all located in individual houses decorated in Bedouin style, the inevitable handicraft shops are attractively camouflaged in a "souq", and there are good restaurants and even a Turkish bath on hand. A fair distance from Petra, but a courtesy shuttle bus is provided. Rooms US$110 and up, 6% of all profits go to the local community.
Petra

Get out

  • Wadi Rum offers stunning desert scenery without any Nabataean ruins spoiling the view.
Petra

External links

  • Petra (http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/tourism6d.html) - profile courtesy of the official Royal Hashemite website
  • go2petra (http://www.go2petra.com/) - tourist information on Petra



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