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Petra (Jordan)

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© Lonely Planet Publications
363

lonelyplanet.com

Petra (Jordan)

‫اﻟﺒﺘﺮاء‬

If you only go to one place in Jordan, make it Petra. Hewn from towering rock walls of multicoloured sandstone, the imposing façades of its great temples and tombs are an enduring
testament to the vision of the desert tribes who sculpted them. The Nabataeans – Arabs who
dominated the region in pre-Roman times – chose as their capital a place concealed from
the outside world and fashioned it into one of the Middle East’s most remarkable cities.
Almost as spectacular as the monuments themselves are the countless shades and Neapolitan swirls formed in the rock. Petra is often called the ‘Rose-red City’, but even this
hardly does justice to the extraordinary range of colours that blend as the sun makes its
daily passage over the site.
Few buildings in Petra are freestanding; the bulk were chiselled and bored out of the rock
face. Until the mid-1980s, many of these caves were home to the local Bedouin and a handful
of families still pitch their black goat-hair tents inside Petra, or even live in the caves.
The site itself is huge and you need a couple of days to come to grips with the place. From
Eilat, Petra is an easy two-hour journey, but don’t give in to a day tour. Budget for an extra
night here – you’ll thank yourself for it later. There are tombs and carvings in every nook
and cranny, which makes the place perfect for some off-the-beaten-track exploration.

HIGHLIGHTS
Taking in traditional Bedouin music surrounded by hundreds of candles during
the enchanting Petra by Night (p364) tour
Escaping the crowds and exploring
unexcavated tombs during a hike (p368)
around Petra

Easing aching muscles with a Turkish bath
in one of the Wadi Musa hotels such as
Al-Anbat Hotel I (p370)
Catching the first sight of the Treasury
(p365) from the Siq, the cliché Indiana
Jones moment you can’t help getting
excited about

Petra

Wadi Musa

PE TRA ( JORDAN)

PE TRA ( JORDAN)

Drinking in the spectacular Petra sunset
(and a cold beer) from the roof of the
Mövenpick Hotel (p370)

364 P E T R A ( J O R D A N ) • • T h e A n c i e n t C i t y

FAST FACTS ON JORDAN
Capital Amman
Country Code x962
Petra Telephone Code x03
Language Arabic
Money Jordanian dinar (JD), consisting of
1000 fils; JD1 = US$1.40, E£1.10, 6NIS
Visas Most nationalities can get a two-week
Jordanian visa free of charge at the Yitzhak
Rabin (formerly known as Arava) or Jordan
River border crossings. The Allenby/King
Hussein Bri...
PETRA (JORDAN)
lonelyplanet.com
PETRA (JORDAN)
363
If you only go to one place in Jordan, make it Petra. Hewn from towering rock walls of multi-
coloured sandstone, the imposing façades of its great temples and tombs are an enduring
testament to the vision of the desert tribes who sculpted them. The Nabataeans – Arabs who
dominated the region in pre-Roman times – chose as their capital a place concealed from
the outside world and fashioned it into one of the Middle East’s most remarkable cities.
Almost as spectacular as the monuments themselves are the countless shades and Nea-
politan swirls formed in the rock. Petra is often called the ‘Rose-red City’, but even this
hardly does justice to the extraordinary range of colours that blend as the sun makes its
daily passage over the site.
Few buildings in Petra are freestanding; the bulk were chiselled and bored out of the rock
face. Until the mid-1980s, many of these caves were home to the local Bedouin and a handful
of families still pitch their black goat-hair tents inside Petra, or even live in the caves.
The site itself is huge and you need a couple of days to come to grips with the place. From
Eilat, Petra is an easy two-hour journey, but don’t give in to a day tour. Budget for an extra
night here – you’ll thank yourself for it later. There are tombs and carvings in every nook
and cranny, which makes the place perfect for some off-the-beaten-track exploration.
Petra (Jordan)
ءاﺮﺘﺒﻟا
HIGHLIGHTS
Taking in traditional Bedouin music sur-
rounded by hundreds of candles during
the enchanting Petra by Night ( p364 ) tour
Escaping the crowds and exploring
unexcavated tombs during a hike ( p368 )
around Petra
Drinking in the spectacular Petra sunset
(and a cold beer) from the roof of the
Mövenpick Hotel
( p370 )
Easing aching muscles with a Turkish bath
in one of the Wadi Musa hotels such as
Al-Anbat Hotel I ( p370 )
Catching the first sight of the Treasury
( p365 ) from the Siq, the cliché Indiana
Jones moment you can’t help getting
excited about
Wadi Musa
Petra
362
© Lonely Planet Publications
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