Holidays to Petra
The ancient city of Petra is one of the most well-known sites in Jordan. It was built 2,500 years ago by the Nabatean people, who were accomplished tradesmen. It is carved into the dramatic sandstone landscape in southern Jordan and inspires awe in every one of its many visitors. Jordan is affectionately known as a warm and welcoming country by the people who have travelled through it. Its culture of hospitality ensures that your holiday in Petra is enriching and memorable. You can stay near to Petra in the cluster of hotels and hostels just over a mile away from the site.
After you pass through the visitor gates to the Petra site, you are confronted with al-Siq. This narrow canyon through the tall cliffs is the only way into the city, and it is particularly atmospheric in the early morning and in the evening. When deserted, this unusual path conjures images of ancient Bedouin caravans – it is both peaceful and atmospheric. You can make the journey through al-Siq on foot or in a horse-drawn cart that picks you up from the main gate.
Your first glimpse of Petra is of the Treasury building. This ornately carved and imposing structure is one of the most famous views in the whole city, thanks to its starring role in Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade. This grand and dramatic first impression of Petra sets the tone for your exploration of the rest of the city.
You can only explore Petra on foot or by riding one of the donkeys, camels or horses for hire. You should take your time in your discovery of this desert city; in summer the daytime temperature often exceeds 40 degrees Celsius. There are countless nooks and crannies in which to lose yourself, but no holiday to Petra is complete without climbing the 800 steps up to the Monastery. This challenging climb rewards you with views over the whole of Petra and access to the largest building in the city.
The Roman Theatre is an impressive auditorium that seats 7,000 people and still stages performances that benefit from the atmospheric setting. Downhill from the Theatre is a wide thoroughfare flanked by the Royal Tombs, and these grand burial places are as ornately carved as the rest of the city.
What you need to know
A holiday in Petra is a truly remarkable experience, with many fascinating and moving sights. It is best to visit outside of summer, as between May and September the daytime temperatures are very high and Petra is extremely busy with other visitors. Early morning or late afternoon is the best time to appreciate the atmosphere of this ancient city, and the low light accentuates the beautiful rose glow of the stone.