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Petra

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© Lonely Planet Publications
175



Petra
‫ﺑﺘﺮا‬

PE TRA

PE TRA

174

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 get to grips with the place. Budget
an extra day 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
Feel the excitement build as you walk the Siq (p181), the long, dramatic chasm that links the
ancient city with the outside world

ὄὄὄὄ
ὄὄὄὄ

Stare in awe at the Treasury (p182) –
Al-Khazneh, as it’s locally known –
arguably Petra’s most spectacular and
most photographed sight

Monastery
(Al-Deir)

Explore the towering Royal Tombs (p184),
offering great views of the old city centre
Hike steps up to the Monastery (p188),
perched surreally on a mountain top, and
just as impressive as the Treasury

Wa

di Mu
sa

Get your lungs moving on the great hike to
the High Place of Sacrifice (p184), along a
Nabataean processional way, with superb
views and hidden tombs on the way down
Exploring the Siq and the Treasury in
silence and by candlelight during Petra
by Night (p192) is an unforgettable
experience and one that evokes the lost
atmosphere of past Petra

Royal
Tombs

High Place
of Sacrifice
(Al-Madbah)

The Siq

Treasury
(Al-Khazneh)

History
Excavations in the 1950s unearthed a Neolithic village at Al-Beidha, just to the north
of Petra, which dates from about 7000 BC
(see p201). This puts it...
PETRA
www.lonelyplanet.com
PETRA
175
Petra
اﺮ
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 pas-
sage 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 get to grips with the place. Budget
an extra day 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
Feel the excitement build as you walk the Siq ( p181 ), the long, dramatic chasm that links the
ancient city with the outside world
Stare in awe at the Treasury ( p182 )
Al-Khazneh, as it’s locally known –
arguably Petra’s most spectacular and
most photographed sight
Explore the towering Royal Tombs ( p184 ),
offering great views of the old city centre
Hike steps up to the Monastery ( p188 ),
perched surreally on a mountain top, and
just as impressive as the Treasury
Get your lungs moving on the great hike to
the High Place of Sacrifice ( p184 ), along a
Nabataean processional way, with superb
views and hidden tombs on the way down
Exploring the Siq and the Treasury in
silence and by candlelight during Petra
by Night ( p192 ) is an unforgettable
experience and one that evokes the lost
atmosphere of past Petra
Musa
Wadi
(Al-Deir)
Monastery
(Al-Khazneh)
Treasury
(Al-Madbah)
of Sacrifice
High Place
Tombs
Royal
The Siq
174
© Lonely Planet Publications
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