Petra: The Rose City Carved in the Rocks of the Desert

An ancient city rises from the rocky desert of Jordan. As the sun rises from behind it, its pink-coloured exteriors and beautiful carvings unveil the architectural qualitative merit apparent no less in its modern age. Jordan ¦ The Rose City of Petra!

Petra, the UNESCO-listed ancient city and New Seven Wonders of the World wonder that has fascinated visitors for centuries, dates back to the 300 BCE. Combining Nabatean, Roman and Byzantine flavors, it is a fascinating tapestry of antiquity and culture.

History of Petra

It was capital of the Nabateans, an ancient Arab civilization as early as the 4th century BCE. It was based in the Control of the Nabateans, who were businessmen with a gift for locating the best trade routes, and thus, Petra became a metropolis that catered for commerce.

Petra was a key center during the Roman and Byzantine empires over the centuries due to its strategic location. Grand temples, theaters and tombs are built in this city, established in Roman Rule. But following a series of earthquakes and shifts in trade routes, Petra slowly fell into disuse before it was eventually abandoned in the 7th century.

Local culture and traditions in Petra

The significance of Petra’s architecture and rock-cut structures

The architectural anatomy of Petra is one of the fascinating features of the ancient city with rock cut edifices. The city was literally built into the sandstone cliffs, merging with nature as one.

An engineering marvel and unparalleled example of water management knowledge among the Nabateans is the intricate and largely hidden water systems and channels that once supported their people here. The elaborate carvings — a type of rock-cut architecture — demonstrate the skill and artistic achievement of the Nabateans.

The stunning architectural abilities of the Nabateans can be seen in the Treasury, Petra’s most iconic building. Located at the far end of the Siq, the top decor of the tomb or ceremonial structure is quite impressive. Its imposing facade has been seen in many movies, which makes it even more appealing.

Exploring the main attractions of Petra

This archaeological site occupies an area of over 60 sqkm. You will pass by many astonishing spots as you navigate its serpentine rotes and its enigmatic nooks.

Petra’s main entrance is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1km in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80m high cliffs. As you walk through this natural wonder you will get be greeted by the Treasury, this iconic building with it s intricate carvings and majestic structure. Moving along the path you will find the Street of Facades which is a line of tombs and caves that were once the homes of the rich and famous of Petra.

The exquisite Royal Tombs (hewn into the rock face) are just a few indicators of the regal as well as well-off rule of Petra. Just some of the architectural sites include The Urn Tomb, The Palace Tomb, The Corinthian Tomb, and many more.

Further, for the intrepid: after a steep ascent, the Monastery. While it lacks the detail of the mariatogel, its similar aesthetics shine, and its size dominates the surrounding landscape, showcasing the ability of the Nabateans to carve such large structures out of the sandstone.

Tips for visiting Petra

To make the most of your visit to Petra, it’s important to come prepared. Here are a few tips to ensure a memorable experience:

  1. Arrive early to beat the crowds and enjoy a more serene atmosphere.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers, as the terrain can be challenging and the weather can change throughout the day.
  3. Stay hydrated and bring snacks, as there are limited food and drink options within the site.
  4. Engage the services of a local guide to learn more about the history and significance of Petra.
  5. Take your time to explore the lesser-known areas of Petra, away from the main tourist routes, for a more immersive experience.

Local culture and traditions in Petra

Petra is actually a city that has been inhabited continuously from pre-historic times until today. This will give you a closer look into the enriching culture of the place.

Inhabited by the Bedouin people for thousands of years, the Bedouins still inhabit the city and its surroundings today. They are hospitable and take visitors into there traditional life. Have a cup of tea at a Bedouin tent, enjoy their stories and discover a really nice culture.

Accommodation options in Petra

Accommodation options in Petra

Petra Accommodations: Where to Stay in Petra From high-end hotels to pocket-friendly guesthouses to the unique experience of spending time in Bedouin camels you can practically have it all.

There are a number of palatial resorts and hotels near Petra for visitors looking for a more luxurious accommodation Offering luxurious amenities, amazing views, and immediate proximity to the ruins, these establishments are top-tier.

Or, super-friendly guesthouses and hostels with a comfy room at a comfortable price. Most of these are based out of Petra, in the adjoining town of Wadi Musa.

Opt to spend a night in a Bedouin camp for the full experience. Providing an insight into bedouin life, these traditional camps usually take the form of tastefully furnished tents, have a communal dining area, and allow you to see the stars in the desert night sky, all in comfort.

How to get to Petra

Reaching Petra is relatively straightforward, with several transportation options available:

  1. By air: The closest airport to Petra is Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan’s capital. From there, you can hire a car or arrange a taxi to take you to Petra.
  2. By road: Petra is well-connected by road, with buses and private taxis operating between major cities in Jordan. You can also opt for a rental car if you prefer to explore at your own pace.
  3. By organized tour: Many tour operators offer guided tours to Petra, which include transportation from major cities in Jordan. This can be a convenient option for those who prefer a hassle-free experience.

Other nearby attractions and activities

While Petra is undoubtedly the main highlight of a visit to Jordan, there are several other attractions and activities in the vicinity that are worth exploring:

  1. Wadi Rum: Known as the Valley of the Moon, Wadi Rum is a desert wilderness famous for its stunning landscapes. Take a jeep tour, go camel trekking, or spend a night under the stars in a Bedouin camp.
  2. Dead Sea: Located at the lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea offers a unique experience of floating effortlessly in its mineral-rich waters. Don’t forget to indulge in a mud bath for a rejuvenating spa-like experience.
  3. Amman: Jordan’s capital city is a vibrant blend of ancient history and modern cosmopolitanism. Explore the Roman ruins, visit the Citadel, and indulge in the local cuisine and shopping scene.
  4. Jerash: Just a short drive from Amman, Jerash is home to some of the best-preserved Roman ruins in the world. Wander through the ancient streets, marvel at the grand theaters, and imagine life in the Roman Empire.

Petra, the Rose City, is a testament to human ingenuity, artistic brilliance, and the enduring power of history. Exploring its ancient streets, marveling at its majestic structures, and immersing yourself in the local culture is an experience like no other. From the awe-inspiring Treasury to the hidden corners of the Monastery, Petra promises to leave an indelible mark on your soul. Plan your visit, step back in time, and let the magic of Petra transport you to a bygone era.

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