Petra (Jordan)

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Petra (Jordan)

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Review of "Petra (Jordan)"

published 11/09/2011 | garymarsh86
Member since : 11/09/2004
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Excellent
Pro A unique and awesome insight into an ancient civilisation.
Cons Lots of walking which may deter those with mobility issues.
very helpful
Value for Money
Sightseeing
Shopping
Nightlife
Ease of getting around

"The Ancient city of Petra. Jordan."

The first glimpse of the treasury!

The first glimpse of the treasury!

Petra

This is no of the Blue Peter fame but a world heritage site,an ancient city hidden in the middle of the mountains in Jordan. I would like to share my opinions on this magically mysterious place and encourage you to visit yourselves to marvel at the wanders that it beholds. It was built around 100 BC by the Nabataeans and only recently discovered in 1812. Petra has recently been named one of the new wonders of the modern world.

After a two and a half hour bus trip from the coastal town of Aqaba via the mountainous route we finally descended from the swirling freezing clouds via the meandering and twisting clinging roads of the mountains down into the Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses) to reach the entrance of Petra where there are toilet facilities which you would be strongly advised to take advantage of before entering Petra as there are no toilet facilities within Petra itself.

It cost approximately £15 to go in for the day and for another £5 it gave us an entry ticket for another day.

There is a horse rescue centre here and horses can be hired with a handler to walk you down to the entrance of the SIQ approximately a kilometre. The Siq is a natural narrow channel cut deep into the mountains which you have to walk down to reach the ancient city of Petra. Some parts of the Siq are about 30 Meters high and in places only about 3 meters wide and in total it is about 1 KM to reach the end. You are shaded from the sun due to the high sided cliffs. It feels incredibly chilly when walking down the Siq as the wind cuts up the channel with some ferocity at times. Some horse and carts race up and down taking passengers to and fro at deathly speeds on the uneven and at times cobbled path.

It is a wander how the city was ever discovered as it is very well hidden from view. High up in the mountains and one can catch the odd glimpse of the caves and forum but once down in the valleys it is amazing how anyone ever found it.

Walking down the sandstone Siq the changes in shape and colour of the cliffs are truly stunning ranging from Yellow to pink and lovely red & brown hues. The shape of the Siq varies too after thousands of years of weather erosion making some interesting shapes and structures. They built channels in the rock face to help bring water to the city and also to prevent flooding and they are clearly visible at certain points down the Siq. You can also see carved into the rocks camels and drovers about three quarters of the way down.

The most famous and exciting view of all time awaits you as you near the end of the Siq. A slight glimmer of the treasury comes into view at the opening of the Siq continue to walk to reach the end and the magnificent structure of the treasury greets you across the main square. This is the most amazing and breath taking sight to see. The treasury building was carved out of the side of the sandstone mountain and has columns and other decorative works.

Turning right walking past various other dwellings and tombs you reach a massive amphitheatre where there are steps carved into the side of the mountain to reach the monastery. Most of the amphitheatre is still intact. Continuing down there are even more amazing buildings carved into the mountain side.

There is a roman area which has some massive columns and a colonnaded walkway and cobbled paths which were specifically designed in an arched fashion for the water to drain off into channels on either side which was carried off to a small reservoir and dam. There is a massive roman forum area where all the citizens would have met once a week for important announcements and for entertainment.

There are remains of roman temples dotted around and the remains of a Byzantine church with beautiful mosaics still intact. There is a font for baptism which was unique in that it was situated outside the church as it was not possible to enter the church unless you had been baptised. This was quite high up on top of a very high hill. Four massive columns remain inside the ruins of the church.

This was one of the highlights of our tour of Jordan and is well worth a visit. You can let your imagination run riot here as it is peaceful and calm and think about how they used to live here. Infact how on earth they actually built this place with such primitive tools is amazing.

We also toured another site about 15 Kms away called Little Petra. It is very similar but on a much smaller scale. The Siq again is hidden in the rocks and is only about 1 meter wide and about 10 meters long. Once through the Siq there are buildings carved out of the rocks but they are not as spectacular as Petra itself. In one of the banqueting halls there are some very intricate paintings on the ceiling. It is not as popular as Petra but there are still quite a few buildings and caves to explore.

Outside the main entrance there are a couple of stalls selling drinks and general tat such as T-shirts, flags and ornaments that may appear lovely while you are there but believe me they are just dust collectors when you bring them home!

My opinion.

Would I recommend a visit? Absolutely but I would say that you would need a degree of agility and no major mobility problems as there is quite a bit of walking on uneven surfaces. Good walking shoes are essential. It is a beautiful site to visit and the colours and shear size of the place is awesome.

How to get here?

Fly to Amman with Royal Jordanian airlines. Petra is about two to three hours from Amman.

Accommodations: There is plenty of accommodation near to the entrance of Petra ranging from cheap and cheerful to more exclusive hotel accommodation. Be aware that there are also armed tourist police outside most of the larger hotels.

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Comments on this review

  • Essexgirl2006 published 09/10/2011
    I'm going to Jordan for New Year - can't wait!
  • Katieshaz published 17/09/2011
    I have been to Amman before but not Petra, it's on my to do list!
  • Graygirl published 16/09/2011
    Lovely review, and super photographs which give us a real sense of the place.
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Product Information : Petra (Jordan)

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Listed on Ciao since: 06/12/2000