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Jordan: Petra

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Petra | Jordan | Asia

[Visited: July 1996, October 2004]

When you walk out of Wadi Moussa, the village built at the entrance to Petra, there are few signs of the marvels lying on the other side of the rocks. Walking down a rocky canyon, or siq as it is called locally, at times only a few metres narrow, in a pleasant shade protecting you from the heat in the hot summer, there are some hints of what is ahead in the face of the cliffs. It is only when you reach the end of the siq that, suddenly, you discern the facade of a building hewn out of the rocks. It looks like a beautiful lady wearing a chador, you can see only part of the beauty.

Picture of Petra (Jordan): The Monastery, or Al Deir, in Petra

From this magnificent place, you can turn right, walk past more facades, a theatre, and tombs on the higher rocks. An easy climb takes you up the hill to the high place of sacrifice or Al Madbah, with free views all over the area. It is easy to understand why this place is called Petra, which comes from rock in Greek. Going down to the valley brings you to the city centre, with remains of temples, market, nymphaeum, palaces and a church. Here, it is impossible to hide from the sun as it is in the open plains of Petra.

Picture of Petra (Jordan): The Treasury or Al Khazneh is the real start of wonders in Petra

Soon after the ancient city of Petra, you reach the other side of the wadi. Here, passing the restaurants and followed by donkey drivers, you can climb up to the Lion Tomb, a little hidden from the main path and not often visited, and further up to the Monastery. Possibly even more impressive than the Treasury, this is a great place to wind down a little, enjoy the views, and marvel at the sheer ingenuity of the architects of the Monastery. The walk back can best be made just before sunset, as the colour of the rocks turn into incredible shades of pink (hence the name Pink City).

Picture of Petra (Jordan): Pillars in Petra: remains of the ancient city
Picture of Petra (Jordan): Monastery or Al Deir seen from below, one of the main attractions of Petra
Picture of Petra (Jordan): The Treasury or Al Khazneh from below, Petra
Picture of Petra (Jordan): Tombs hewn out in the rocks, Petra
Picture of Petra (Jordan): City Gate of ancient Petra
Picture of Petra (Jordan): Rocky facade at Petra
Picture of Petra (Jordan): One of the royal tombs of Petra
Picture of Petra (Jordan): Some of the houses in the Street of Facades, Petra
Picture of Petra (Jordan): The Treasury of Petra, hidden from the outside world by its inaccessability

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Petra (Jordan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Petra.
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