On July 7, 2002, the ancient city Petra in Jordan was officially designated as a wonder of the world. Search for “New Wonders of the World” was engaged in the organization of the New Open World Corporation in Zurich. The whole world voted for “New Wonders” using the phone, the Internet and SMS. All the sights, except for one built in the last century, were very old. The rock city of Petra, built 4 millennia ago in the Arava Valley, took its rightful place on this list.

Jordan wonder of the world

  1. Petra was studied only by 15%.
  2. This small part is solid riddles.
  3. Pink city Petra is a fantastic joint creation of nature and human hands. Much more like the scenery of the grand fairy-tale spectacle, than the usual ancient ruins.

Petra lost and found.

Throughout its long history, Petra in Jordan has changed several owners. It began as the capital of Idumea. Then it was absorbed by the Nabataean kingdom, with it Petra experienced an unprecedented flourishing. There is a legend that the Siq gorge leading to Petra through the rocks is the trail of the blow of the staff of Moses.

Another legend exposes the Nabataeans to very cruel people. Allegedly, they did not let into their city, which did not experience a shortage of water, the Jews whom Moses led through the desert. Nabataeans really could not tolerate Jews.

The heirs of the empire of Alexander the Great argued for Nabatea. But Petra managed to preserve independence – until 105 AD, when the Roman emperor-warrior Mark Ulpius Traian came here. It was useless to argue with Rome about independence, and Nabateo became Petraia Arabia.

In the XII century, the Crusaders visited here. And after the XVI century. Petra seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth, it is abandoned and is not known to anyone.

In 1812, a certain sheikh theologian Ibrahim ibn Abdullah traveled around the Middle East. At first he studied Shari’ah in Syrian Aleppo. Then he went on a journey. Thanks to him, the Europeans learned where the city of Petra was.

The real name of the “Arab theologian” was Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. He was a passionate research scientist and desperate adventurer. Its history is similar to the history of Columbus. Both were looking for one and found another, and this “other” glorified their names. Burckhardt was looking for the sources of the Niger River, this was the main purpose of his dangerous journey through the Muslim East. For this, he learned Arabic and converted to Islam! But he was so lucky to find a forgotten passage between the rocks of the Arava plain.

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On the way to Petra.

At the entrance to the Siq gorge are mysterious stone cubes. One of them is mottled as if by bird tracks – remnants of Nabatean ornament. Cubes are considered tombs. They are also called “jinn tombs”.

Further along the main path there will be a strange, as if two-story, structure. The upper floor is decorated with pyramidal obelisks and seems older than the lower. At the bottom you can see quite classic columns and niches for statues, stone beds from three sides, as in the Roman triclinia. This is a monument of the 1st AD – the reign of the last kings of Nabatei, two tombs, built one above the other.

The Siq Fantastic Gorge is winding and compressed by reddish-brown folded rocks. So that in some places its width is only 2 m. It has preserved the remains of ancient Nabatean aqueducts: dams, canals, carved out in the rocks, and even ceramic pipes.

The Nabataean population knew the price of water in the desert, and during the seasonal rainstorms skillfully collected and saved it. And even traded it.

Petra and it’s “fabulous” master stonemasons.

The brightest and biggest attractions of Petra in Jordan are Al-Khazneh and Ad-Deir.

Al-Khazneh is also the Treasure House, an ancient temple in the rock. Ad-Deir – still puzzling researchers. It is difficult to imagine ways to build them.

Amazing Al-Khazneh and the 45-meter-high façade of Ad-Deira are not just crudely carved in stone – they are carved with great art. But how?

How did these ancient stonecutters work? Having neither tools of modern builders, nor the most important thing – scaffolding? In the Arava Valley there is nothing to build simple wooden forests. There are no trees! On which they kept, how did these Nabatean builders strengthened on the rock while working? They were cited with great skill.

If we imagine that some kind of clever system of rope and belt fastenings was used. Then it becomes clear why Petra became a great city. Even the craftsmen-builders in it were very brave people. The builders were able to work, hanging at such a height over a dangerous stone surface, when a fall in the happiest case could end in injury.

However, most researchers believe that during the construction of Al-Khazneh, a significant part of the builders could be foreigners. Both architecture and decoration are a bizarre mixture of various stylistic elements.

  • Large obelisks are clearly created by the Egyptians or under strong Egyptian influence.
  • Statue of a goddess (presumably Isis or Tyhe). Very much like the Alexandrian.
  • The origin of the columns does not cause any doubts – the capitals. Finished with flexibly curved branches and leaves, even a schoolboy will know how to belong to Corinthian columns.
  • The facade of the building is decorated with figures of winged sphinxes, a lion. Snakes – those who just did not portray in ancient times! And the dancing maidens, like the Amazons.
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It is curious that the Treasury was nicknamed Al-Khazneh with his 4-meter-high urn above the portico. In which allegedly kept the treasury of the Pharaohs. But above the facade of the “monastery” Ad-Deir also has an urn, and its height is as much as 10 meters.

It has not yet been established for what purposes the building, now bearing the name Ad Deir, the largest structure of the city of Peter, was used. Temple? But what kind of deity, if there is no sign of deity worship, is there no altar or statues. The tomb of one of the last kings of Nabatei? It seems that the king was the spiritual heir of the Egyptian pharaohs. They also tried to build their own tombs even more than the pyramids of those who ruled before them.

But the Ad-Deir monastery was nicknamed for the numerous crosses carved on the back wall. Maybe the first Christians, persecuted for their faith, once hid here.

Other ancient “pearls” of Petra.

If you want to hire an Arabic conductor and wander around Petra on your own. Buy a map and pre-plan your route to see what is interesting for you.

Interesting sights of the city:

  • Theater. It is located 300 m to the left of the exit from the Siq gorge to Petra. Theater, built in the 1st century AD. during the reign of King Aretas IV. Looks like Greek and Roman theaters. 40 rows of descending seats, carved into stone. It contained from 6000 to 8000 spectators. One can only guess what kind of spectacles the Nabatean king enjoyed here.
  • Palace of the Virgin, another name is Qasr Al-Bint. Erected in the I century BC. like a sanctuary. The king’s daughter of the allegedly suffered from a shortage of water and said that she would connect her life only with man who would be able to carry precious moisture to her dwelling. Neither give nor take a modern practical girl who does not want to marry someone who does not know how to fix the tap! Judging by the canals and the drain found during the excavations of Qasr Al-Bint, the princess managed to achieve her goal.
  • High altar. 200 m from Al-Khazneh there is a sign according to which you need to go. This attraction for stubborn and hardy. To climb the altar to the mountain will have a rocky staircase, and this “procession” will take a little more than half an hour. Feel like an ancient priest – they regularly overcame this ascent. True, we still do not know what deity and what sacrifices were made here.

Petra today: a city of tourists.

Day tours to Petra are always popular, despite the fact that traveling around the ancient city requires a fair amount of stamina. Good shoes, sunscreen, headgear and bottle of water.

The city of Petra is a world cultural heritage, so no car trips within it. Locals offer horse-drawn transport (wagons), and for ascents into the mountains – camels and donkeys. Do not overpay to local more than 10 JOD. They like to bargain with naive tourists.

Overnight in Petra.

It is possible to visit the amazing city of Petra at night. From 20.30 to 22.00 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

You will see Petra, lits by a multitude of candles, hear Bedouin music, sit on a rug inside Al-Khazneh, and drink some fragrant local tea. You can imagine at this time the facial expression of one of the Nabatean kings who saw some nomads who sat down in his treasury.

Opening hours.

Considered that the museum city of Petra is open from 7.00 to 18.00.

In reality, tourists appear here at dawn. And disappear when it starts to get dark.

How to get to Petra?

  • From Aqaba – by car about 2 hours along the Desert Highway. About 3 hours on the royal road.
  • From Amman – 3.5 hours and 6 hours accordingly.
  • Amman’s taxi to Petra and back – about 75 Jordanian dinars.
  • From Aqaba – 30-40 to Petra, 50-70 with the return.
  • Transfer Eilat Petra.

Best time to visit Petra.

The optimal trip time:

  • March – May (inclusive).
  • September – November (inclusive).

From June to August there is a terrible heat, especially in the daytime. From 12:00 to 15:00 pm you definitely will not enjoy the excursion. Especially since there is absolutely no place to hide from the sun on the rocks.

From December to February there, on the contrary, is too cold.