PETRA JORDAN TRAVEL GUIDE
Petra, located in Jordan, is a historical and archaeological city that is full of wonders and treasures. Its rich history and majestic landscapes make it a must-visit destination for travelers from around the world. In this Petra Jordan travel guide, we will explore the history of Petra, provide tips for preparing for your trip, explain how to get to Petra, highlight the landmarks you should not miss, and discuss the accommodation options available.
Understanding the History of Petra
The Nabatean Kingdom and Petra:
Petra, also known as the Rose City, holds a rich and fascinating history that dates back to ancient times. It was once the capital city of the Nabatean Kingdom, a prosperous civilization that thrived from the 4th century BC to the 1st century AD. The Nabateans were skilled traders, renowned for their ability to navigate the vast deserts and establish lucrative trade routes.
As you delve into the history of Petra, you will discover a city that was not only a center of commerce but also a melting pot of diverse cultures and civilizations. Situated in present-day Jordan, Petra served as a major hub along the ancient trade routes connecting the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, and the Mediterranean region.
Petra’s Significance in Trade Routes:
Due to its strategic location, nestled in the rugged mountains of Jordan, Petra played a crucial role in facilitating trade and commerce between different civilizations. Caravans laden with precious goods, such as spices, silk, incense, and precious metals, would pass through the city, exchanging hands and enriching the Nabateans.
As the trade routes flourished, so did the prosperity and architectural grandeur of Petra. The city’s wealth accumulated through trade activities allowed the Nabateans to construct magnificent structures and create a city that would leave an indelible mark on history.
Walking through the narrow Siq, a natural gorge that leads to the heart of Petra, one can’t help but marvel at the intricate carvings and elaborate facades that adorn the sandstone cliffs. These architectural wonders, such as the Treasury, the Monastery, and the Great Temple, stand as a testament to the wealth and artistic prowess of the Nabateans.
But Petra was not just a bustling trading center; it was a cosmopolitan city that attracted people from far and wide. Merchants, pilgrims, and travelers from various civilizations would converge in Petra, bringing with them their unique customs, languages, and traditions. This cultural exchange enriched the city, making it a vibrant and diverse melting pot.
As you explore the ruins of Petra, you can imagine the bustling streets filled with merchants haggling over prices, camels laden with goods, and the aroma of exotic spices wafting through the air. The city’s markets, known as souks, would come alive with the vibrant colors of fabrics, the glimmer of precious gemstones, and the chatter of different languages.
Today, Petra stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and continues to captivate visitors with its awe-inspiring beauty and historical significance. It serves as a reminder of the ingenuity and resilience of ancient civilizations, as well as the power of trade and cultural exchange in shaping our world.
Preparing for Your Trip to Petra
Planning a trip to Petra? You’re in for an unforgettable adventure! As you get ready to embark on this journey, there are a few key things to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Best Time to Visit Petra
Petra can be visited year-round, but the best time to experience its beauty is during the spring and autumn months. From March to May and September to November, the weather in Petra is pleasant and mild, making it ideal for exploring the ancient city. During these seasons, you can expect comfortable temperatures, clear skies, and a vibrant landscape.
However, it’s important to note that summers in Petra can be scorching, with temperatures soaring above 100°F (38°C). If you plan to visit during this time, be prepared for intense heat and take necessary precautions such as wearing lightweight, breathable clothing, using sunscreen, and staying hydrated. On the other hand, winters in Petra may bring occasional rainfall, so it’s advisable to pack a light rain jacket or umbrella just in case.
Essential Items to Pack
When packing for your trip to Petra, it’s crucial to bring along a few essential items to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here are some must-haves:
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: Exploring the ancient city of Petra involves a fair amount of walking, so it’s essential to pack a sturdy pair of walking shoes. Opt for comfortable footwear that provides good support and cushioning to keep your feet happy throughout the day.
- Sunscreen: Protecting your skin from the harsh sun rays is crucial, especially if you’re visiting Petra during the summer months. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF before heading out and remember to reapply it every few hours.
- A Hat: Shielding yourself from the scorching sun is equally important. Pack a wide-brimmed hat or a cap to protect your face and neck from direct sunlight.
- Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated is key when exploring Petra, especially during the hot summer months. Carry a reusable water bottle and make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.
Aside from these essentials, you may also want to consider packing a lightweight backpack to carry your belongings, a camera to capture the stunning sights, and a small first aid kit for any minor injuries or discomfort you may encounter during your visit.
By being well-prepared and packing these essential items, you’ll be ready to fully immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of Petra and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Getting to Petra
Traveling by Air:
If you are arriving from abroad, the easiest way to reach Petra is by flying into Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. From there, you can either take a domestic flight to Petra Airport or arrange for a private transfer.
Queen Alia International Airport is the main gateway to Jordan, serving as the country’s primary international airport. Located approximately 35 kilometers south of Amman, it offers a wide range of international flights from major cities around the world. Upon arrival, you will find modern facilities and services to ensure a smooth transition to your onward journey.
Once you have landed at Queen Alia International Airport, you can choose to continue your journey to Petra by taking a domestic flight. Petra Airport, also known as King Hussein International Airport, is situated in the nearby city of Aqaba. This option provides a convenient and time-efficient way to reach Petra, as the flight duration is approximately 45 minutes.
If you prefer a more personalized and hassle-free experience, arranging for a private transfer from Queen Alia International Airport to Petra is another viable option. This allows you to enjoy the comfort and convenience of a dedicated vehicle and driver, who will take you directly to your destination. The journey from the airport to Petra takes approximately 3 hours by road, offering scenic views of the Jordanian landscape along the way.
Overland Routes to Petra:
If you prefer a more adventurous route, you can also reach Petra by taking a scenic drive through the Jordanian countryside. This option allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region while experiencing the local culture and traditions.
From major cities like Amman and Aqaba, there are buses and private taxis available that can take you to Petra. These overland routes offer flexibility in terms of timing and allow you to make stops along the way to explore other attractions or enjoy a meal at local restaurants.
The drive from Amman to Petra takes approximately 3 hours, covering a distance of around 235 kilometers. As you venture through the Jordanian countryside, you will pass by charming towns, rolling hills, and breathtaking desert landscapes. This route provides a unique opportunity to witness the country’s diverse terrain and discover hidden gems that lie off the beaten path.
If you are coming from Aqaba, the drive to Petra is shorter, taking approximately 2 hours to cover a distance of around 126 kilometers. This route offers stunning views of the Red Sea and the surrounding mountains, adding to the overall allure of the journey.
Whether you choose to travel by air or take an overland route, reaching Petra is an adventure in itself. The journey allows you to experience the beauty and diversity of Jordan, setting the stage for the awe-inspiring wonders that await you at this ancient city carved into the rose-red cliffs.
Exploring Petra’s Landmarks
The Treasury (Al-Khazneh):
The Treasury is one of Petra’s most iconic landmarks. Carved into the red sandstone cliffs, it mesmerizes visitors with its intricate facade. As you approach this magnificent structure, you can’t help but be awestruck by the sheer grandeur of its design. The skill and craftsmanship of the ancient Nabateans are evident in every detail, from the delicate carvings to the towering columns.
As you stand before the Treasury, take a moment to let your imagination run wild. Picture the bustling city that once thrived around this architectural marvel. Imagine the vibrant trade that took place within its walls, as merchants from far and wide gathered to exchange goods and stories. The Treasury holds the secrets of a bygone era, and it invites you to uncover its mysteries.
The Monastery (Ad-Deir):
For those seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience, the Monastery is a must-see. Located high up in the mountains, reaching the Monastery requires a challenging hike, but the panoramic views and the impressive structure at the top are well worth the effort. As you ascend the rugged trail, the anticipation builds with each step.
As you finally reach the summit, the sight that greets you is nothing short of breathtaking. The Monastery stands tall and proud, its weathered facade a testament to the passage of time. The view from here is simply mesmerizing, with the vast expanse of Petra stretching out before you. Take a moment to catch your breath and soak in the beauty of this hidden gem.
Legend has it that the Monastery was once a place of worship, where ancient rituals were performed and prayers echoed through its halls. Standing in its presence, you can almost feel the spiritual energy that still lingers in the air. It’s a place of tranquility and reflection, where you can escape the crowds and connect with the ancient souls who once walked these very paths.
Accommodation Options in Petra
Luxury Hotels in Petra:
If you prefer a luxurious stay, Petra offers a range of high-end hotels that cater to discerning travelers. These hotels provide top-notch amenities, stunning views, and exceptional service to ensure a memorable experience during your visit.
For budget-conscious travelers, there are also affordable accommodation options available in Petra. Guesthouses, hostels, and bed and breakfasts offer comfortable and economical choices without compromising on convenience and quality.
In conclusion, Petra is a treasure trove of history and natural beauty that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. By understanding its history, preparing for your trip, and exploring its landmarks, you can fully immerse yourself in the marvels of this ancient city. With various accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets, Petra ensures a memorable experience for all who visit.