Hidden behind the pink sandstone cliffs of Southern Jordan is the lost city of Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. While visiting Petra you will notice the rock cut ruins and remains of the great Nabatean Kingdom.
The grandeur of the Corinthian pillars, relief sculptures, Treasury case and the Hellenistic urns completely contrast with the desert and rocky cliffs surrounding it.
As grand as the city is, its origin still remains an unsolved mystery. The only way to access the city is through a gorge hidden deep in the valley of Petra Basin, called the Siqit. Travelling through the mile-long pass will make you wonder how the city managed to stay hidden for over a millennia.
The architectural wonders of Petra were discovered twice, with the latest discovery being made in 1812, 11 centuries after the first one.
Petra’s existence dates back to the first century B.C. The busy trade city inhabited thousands of people but slowly suffered abandonment after getting hit by an earthquake and annexed by the Roman Empire.
Historians think that the Bedouins in the area may have known the location of the city but kept it secret to protect the kingdom’s treasures. According to experts, what thousands of travelers come to see daily is hardly 15% of the actual city with rest of it likely being buried under the desert.
So if you are planning to visit Petra, here’s all you need to know to make the trip a perfect, awe-inspiring experience.
Get a Guide
The site is not that regulated and tourists can easily get scammed. Getting a local guide will not only save you from trouble but also make the complex tour fun. The city is full of great views and well hidden historical spots that can be hard to discover if you decide to go out on your own.
Do not rush if you truly wish to enjoy your visit and take in the sites of Petra. There is a lot to see and rushing to do it will make you miss out on a lot of things.
There are great sites lite the monastery, courthouse, mausoleums, amphitheater, homes and some well hidden hikes (if you enjoy long hikes).
The recent discoveries of ancient paintings and irrigation networks in the little Petra, a small settlement six miles from the main city, should be a must see on your list.
Avoid the Pirates
Referred to as Jack Sparrows by the locals, these guys are nothing but bad news. We will not go into too much detail about them except the fact that none of them is Johnny Depp and everything they offer is a scam.
No matter what you do, just steer clear of guys dressed as characters from Pirates of the Caribbean when visiting Petra. They are bad news.
One of the most beautiful places in Petra is the Monastery. It is also one of the hardest places to reach. You have to climb 850 steps to get to the 150 feet high Monastery. The climb takes almost an hour to complete but is totally worth the hassle.
Stay Till Night
The Bedouins put on an amazing show at night, outside the Treasury. Yes, the locals charge you for it but it’s not that much and the performance they put on with hundreds of candles lit up is a sight to be remembered for ages.
Choose a Hotel Nearby
Being out all day in the desert heat is pretty tiring and having a hotel nearby would minimize your effort of kicking back once the day is done. While Petra is situated amidst desert, it is no stranger to luxury hotels and that too right across the road.