I’d rate Petra as one of those top ten must-sees in the archaeological world category. Here are just a “few” of the crazy number of photos I took when I visited.
(Read more about my Petra experience on The Blog.)
One thing you need to know if you are deciding whether to visit Jordan’s Petra is that the site is quite large and there is much more to see than just the famous Treasury. And I’m not talking about the camels.
From the ancient to the modern. Everyone still likes to build on a hill with a view.
Another ten minutes’ walk past the Treasury is a row of impressive tombs high up on the stone. Some of them show amazing colors in the sandstone. All of them have names that have no truth to them, modern monikers made up in later years according to the imaginations of those who wondered what these places were.
Thus we have the “Palace” tomb.
And the impressive Court tomb.
The interior shots above and below are from the Court tomb and show some fascinating colors and patterns.
Even bigger than the Treasury is the “Monastery” which lies at the end of a steep climb up steps and trails to the top of a mountain. Pack water and be aware that there are no restrooms until you come back down. A Bedouin watches approaching hikers.
The overlooks on this hike take your breath away almost as much as the effort does. This is a long shot from the mountain back over the plain of Petra to those tombs carved into the cliff. From left to right: the Palace tomb, Corinthian tomb, and Silk tomb.
Colorful stone hanging over the stairs up to the Monastery.
That Bedouin in her purple shawl on the trail up to the Monastery is actually the cleaning woman.
The Monastery is also a misnomer. Less detailed than the Treasury, the Monastery is much bigger. Its lofty location makes you work for it.
Just after the Treasury, the canyon widens out and shows a lot more carving as well as a Roman theater (below).
When the Romans moved in, they brought their theaters, of course. This one is carved into a tomb area.
Horse and cart rides if the heat and effort start getting to you. The horses look well taken care of. The donkeys… er, not so much.
Water erosion, which formed these narrow channels, is now a threat to Petra’s future, and you can see the stains of where the water runs during the winter rains. Also in this picture in the bottom left corner is a small shrine carved to the gods of the Nabataens. There are full-sized shrines, of course, but these small ones are carved throughout. I like to think of them as spiritual ATMs for when you just don’t have time to get downtown to the temple.
The sun is harsh but for a good portion of the day, Al Siq – the narrow entry canyon leading to the Treasury – is at least partially shaded due to its depth.
Erosion has had its way with what was a carving of a man with his camels. Petra was a hub on an important trade route connecting Arabia, Africa, and Europe.
And finally, the Treasury…
It is good to get to the Treasury either very early or late toward the park’s closing time when you will find fewer tourists.
A close-up of the details of The Treasury.
The approach to it is as magical as the Treasury itself. Like a flower opening.
Read about my Petra experience on The Blog.
BMI offers flights from the UK to Amman making a long weekend getaway to Jordan and Petra rather easy.