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Travel Guide Middle East Jordan Petra



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 Ma'an. 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.



Opening Hours

The park is open from approximately 6:00am to 5:00pm or 6:00pm, 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]




What may be one of the most expensive admissions to any archaeological site in the world. The entry ticket to Petra costs JOD90 for one day visitors to Jordan (i.e., those that have arrived in Jordan from some other country, e.g. Israel, on the day of the visit and will be returning there for the night). Tourists that overnight in the country or on a cruise ship pay JOD50 for 1 day, JOD55 for 2 days or JOD60 for 3 days. Bring your passport to prove you entered Jordan at least one day before. If entered the same day, your room key will be asked by the ticket seller. Students have to pay the full price, except those who enroll in a Jordanian university, for whom the admission price drops sharply to JOD1.

Do not attempt to purchase tickets from dubious scalpers around town! Time permitting, the two-day pass is recommended, as there is much to see and do in Petra. For more than one day, the ticket office can ask for your passport as the ticket has your first name on it.

Since the autumn of 2015 you can buy the Jordan Pass (online before coming to Jordan). It gives you access to over 30 sights and attractions in Jordan, including Petra, Wadi Rum Protected Area and Jerash. And the fee on the regular JOD40 visa is waived when entering Jordan, if you stay at least four days in the country. (If you leave before, you will have to pay the JOD40 at the border when exiting.) There are three different types available, depending on the length of your stay in Petra: JOD70/75/80 for one/two/three day(s) in Petra. Also read Jordan#Jordan Pass.

Children under 12 years can enter the touristic sites for free when accompanied by their parents.



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.




There is only one restaurant in all of the Petra site - at the far end of the Roman Highway. It does a roaring trade despite steep pricing, and also has the valley's monopoly on beer.

For just snacks and hot & cold drinks however, there are a number of small stores and vendors scattered throughout Petra.




Shade is sparse in Petra, and on a hot summer day you can expect to go through at least 4 liters of water (and more if you can afford to carry it). The need for water in the winter months is much less. 1.5 liter bottles cost JOD0.5.

There is running tap water in Petra's bathrooms throughout the site but it is *not* safe for drinking. If you are exploring the place on a hot day, it might not be a bad idea to fill up an empty bottle with tap's water to refresh yourself during the trip.




There is a good selection of accommodation in nearby Wadi Musa. Most accommodation will be available through the common hotel websites. To get a good price, check out a places availability and location and just turn up and ask for the price referring to the website. But even walking around in the center of Wadi Musa will give you plenty of options. But in high season book ahead.


  • 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.


View our map of accommodation in Petra


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 30.3166667
  • Longitude: 35.4833333

Accommodation in Petra

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Petra searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Petra and areas nearby.


as well as Peter (12%), Hien (5%), Sam I Am (1%), t_maia (1%), frokimoki (1%)

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This is version 46. Last edited at 19:48 on Mar 13, 18 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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