Petra may be a common travel bucket list item, because: (1) it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World; or (2) you grew up watching Indiana Jones, and undoubtedly know that the best one is The Last Crusade. Yes, and yes. 🙂
I will not go into detail about the history of Petra, but for those who don’t know, it’s a city built in 300 BC, becoming a major trading hub because of its proximity to the trade route.
The “Rose City” was not discovered until 1812, by Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Since then, Petra has been the most precious archaeological treasure of Jordan.
The entryway into the site is via the Petra Visitors Center, where you can get free maps in different languages; and hire a guide, if you want one. It’s about a mile until you get to The Siq – the main entrance to the city, only accessible by foot or carriage. The Siq is a natural gorge where the rocks have been smoothed by water over time.
After another mile of blind turns and alleyways along the trail, you will reach the end of The Siq, which opens up to The Treasury. This is it! An impeccably cut piece of rock designed to impress those who enter the Rose City.
I still can’t describe the feeling when I walked through the narrow path, and it opened up to a view of The Treasury. You can refer to this scene from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade for reference, then multiply that awesomeness by a thousand (one of the rare moments when reality exceeds cinematic expectations). That’s exactly how your view will pan, and Harrison Ford’s stunned face is how your face will be. 😀
I also took another route on horseback, going up to the highest point in Petra. Once you’re up there, it’s hard to imagine that a city so beautiful lies in between those massive rocks.
One full day is needed to explore the beauty that is Petra, and if you really take your time admiring each temple and tomb, you might need to return the following day. I’ve also read amazing reviews about the Petra by Night tour, but unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time. I hope I can go back to this city someday, and I’m pretty sure it will be like I’m seeing it for the first time again. 🙂