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Petra

Photo © murrell

Travel Guide Middle East Jordan Petra

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Introduction

The Treasury, Petra

The Treasury, Petra

© All Rights Reserved Mikey B

Petra is Jordan's most famous tourist attraction. A city hewn by the Nabateans into the rose-coloured rock hidden behind the surrounding mountains, the site became famous after reports by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812. Since then millions of tourists have flocked to the site and even more photos of the stunning scenery have been published. Parts of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were shot here.

In ancient times Petra used to be the capital of the Nabateans, from where they controlled the caravan trade to Egypt, the Persian Gulf, Aqaba and Syria. There was heavy influence from the surrounding region with the tombs bearing symbols and signs from Syria, Greece, Egypt and Rome. It is hard to pin point the exact date of the founding of Petra. Some Scholars have tried to use the bible which gives conflicting results.

What can be said is most likely the area had been inhabited as some sort of village, trading centre or gathering place from Neolithic times. What is known for certain is by the 2nd Century BC Petra was a major trading centre in the Middle East. By looking at the tombs in can be concluded that Petra, by 80 BC, must have solidly resembled a Hellenistic city. At this time it is believed that most of the natives in Petra worshiped pre-Islam gods.

In 106 AD the Roman Governor of Syria, Cornelius Palma, absorbed Petra into the Roman Empire as Arabia Petraea. Petra continued to thrive and by 200 AD the city was at its height of power and wealth. In the mid 3rd century Petra's power began to decline rapidly. Rome started to encourage trade over the sea leaving the land lock trading centre with very few costumers. What also did not help was a major earthquake in 363 AD, which damaged most buildings. At the same time commerce was moving to another city and Petra never fully recovered. Petra was able to limp on as religious centre for another 200 years before being completely abandoned for the desert.

During the middle ages several Sultans from Egypt came to check out Petra for there own amusement every now and then. During the crusades different powers, Islamic and Christian, occasionally used Petra as a base. Petra has been heavily looted for the centuries by robbers and passing armies, which makes archeological work very difficult.

Travellers nowadays arrive by JETT bus directly from Amman, with a private taxi from Aqaba or Amman or with a minibus from Maan. They get dropped of the in the nearby village-cum-tourist resort Wadi Musa, where every second building is a hotel. Petra was finally designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1985.

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Opening Hours

The park is open from approximately 6am to 5pm, depending on the time of year. The park police try to ensure people are out of the park before it is dark, because the terrain is difficult to navigate. [1]

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Cost

The entrance fee for one day at Petra is JD21 (Jordanian Dinar), two days cost JD26, three or four days JD31. Children under 10 are half price. Jordanians and residents of Jordan can enter the park for the heavily reduced price of JD1. [1]

Optional extra costs could be:

  • Hiring a horse to take you to Bab al Siq from the Visitor's Centre - JD7 per person.
  • Hiring a carriage for the same trip: JD20 for 2 people.
  • Hiring an official guide for the day: JD35 for up to 10 people.

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Getting There

By Car

Petra is a roughly 3-hour drive from Amman on the Desert Highway, or 5 hours on the more scenic Kings Highway. Drive out of Amman on from the 7th Circle and follow the brown tourist signs.

A private taxi is a reasonable option to visit Petra, with a trip from Amman and back a possibility for around JD50. Be sure to negotiate the fix the price before departure.

By Bus

JETT (tel: (06) 5664146) operates a fleet of air conditioned coaches from Amman to Petra. The buses depart from Abdali Station in Amman at 6:30 each morning and return to Amman from Petra at 4:00pm.

There are also day trips from Eilat in Israel, Sharm el-Sheikh and Taba, Sinai.

There is a minibus from Wadi Rum, which will set you back JD3 per person and take roughly 90 minutes to reach Petra. The bus usually leaves Wadi Rum at 8:30 in the morning, but can experience delays.

It is approximately 3 kilometres from the bus stop to the Treasury. Going there is a fairly easy walk, coming back however can be very taxing. If you are not in good shape, best to rent a carriage or take one of the animals.

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Drink

Be sure to take lots of water, particularly in summer when the temperatures are likely to dehydrate you.
Additionally wear a hat. The sun is extremely strong.

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Sleep

There is a good selection of accommodation in nearby Wadi Musa.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Cleopetra HostelPetra JordanHostel83
Desert CampBedouin VillageCampsite-
Mussa Spring HotelAin Mussa (Spring of Moses) Petra- JordanHotel82
Orient Gate Hostel and HotelWadi Mousa P.O.BOX 185Hostel85
Peace Way HotelP.O. Box 85, Main Street Opposite to Housing BankHotel62
Petra Gate Hostel and HotelWadi MusaHostel82
La Maison HotelOff Tourist Street, behind Moevenpick Hotel Wadi MusaHotel76
Qaser Al-Bint HotelJordan - Petra Main Street or Queen Rania Str Crc. Al-ShaheedHotel-
Saba'a HotelOff the Main Roundabout, Wadi, MusaHotel88
Petra Sella HotelP.O. Box 29 Wadi MousaHotel81
Shara Mountains Hostelat the tourist street, opposite side of the Iskan Wadi MousaHostel76
Sun Set HotelPetra P.O. BOX 59Hotel78
Venus HotelJordan Petra Wadi MousaHotel81
Valentine InnWadi MusaHOTEL82
Seven Wonders Bedouin CampPetra, Wadi MusaCampsite88
Moon valley HotelShaheed RoundaboutHotel-
Petra Diamond HotelAl-Zaraya Street, Wadi Musa PetraHOTEL-
Petra Edom HotelPetra Jordan historical area Tourism streetHOTEL-
Candles Petra HotelWadi MusaHotel-
Valley Stars InnP.O. Box 88 main street of Wadi MusaHotel-
Rocky Mountain HotelMain Street, Petra 71810Hotel88
Hidab Hotel PetraMain Street , Beside Gas StationHotel-
Elgee HotelWastul al-Balad Opp. Arab BankHotel-
Oscar HotelPetra Authority Road P.O. Box 169Hotel-
Petra Palace HotelShari El Siahy (Tourist Street) Wadi MousaHotel-
Al Rashid HotelShari El Siahy (Tourist Street)Hotel85
Petra Family House ApartmentMain Steet , Wadi MousaAPARTMENT-
Petra Bed and BreakfastWadi Musa PetraGUESTHOUSE-
Al-Rashid HotelMain Street - City Center Beside Al-Shaheed RoundaboutHOTEL-
The Rock Camp PetraWadi Moussa Little Petra ( Beidha )CAMPSITE-
Qaser Al-Bint HotelWadi MousaHotel-
Little Petra BungalowLittle Petra Wadi MousaCAMPSITE-

Mid-Range

  • Traditional Bedouin Style

Another way of visiting Petra, apart from the habitual hotels or hostels, is searching for accommodation in one of the Bedouin tents that stand permanently around the area. The price is a bit more expensive that the budget hotels, but they offer a taste of the ancient Bedouin lifestyle and meals.

  • Nawaf Bedouin Camp Fire and desert tours, phone: +962 795 537 109). Very good way of getting to know the real Bedouin lifestyle. Nawaf is a warm and respectful person, and the way he manages his camp has very little to do with a hotel - he likes to work with small groups of tourist, so he can use all his energies to make you feel comfortable and share some talking with you around the campfire. At night, in the magic atmosphere of the Bedouin tent, he will prepare on the fire (just in front of you) a very tasty dinner, following the old Bedouin traditions. 55JD/night per person, including dinner and breakfast. The price also includes transportation to and from the Bedouin village next to Petra.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 30.3166667
  • Longitude: 35.4833333

Contributors

as well as Hien (11%), frokimoki (6%), nawafpetra (3%), berhbs (3%), Herr Bert (2%), Sam I Am (2%)

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This is version 38. Last edited at 13:24 on May 19, 14 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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