Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place. It has to be seen to be believed. Petra, the world wonder, is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.We would recommend getting up early, gates opens @ 6am for anyone with a two day pass and tickets on sale from 6:30am. It’s great to start out early to beat the heat, also wear good walking boots, a hat and sunscreen. Also make sure you take water with you, atlthough if you don’t want to carry too much there are several Cafe’s throughout the site where it is nice to sit and cool off with a cold beverage, most even have Wifi, this also supports the local economy.
Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1km in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80m high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself. The colours and formations of the rocks are dazzling. As you reach the end of the Siq you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh (Treasury).
As you enter the Petra valley you will be overwhelmed by the natural beauty of this place and its outstanding architectural achievements. A Roman-style theatre, which could seat 3,000 people. There are obelisks, temples, sacrificial altars and colonnaded streets, and high above, overlooking the valley, is the impressive Ad-Deir Monastery – a flight of 800 rock cut steps takes you there.
The best time to see Petra, especially if you’re planning to take photographs, is either early to mid-morning or late afternoon, when the angled sun highlights and enhances the amazing natural colours of the rocks. You will be approached by several locals to buy antiquities and old coins, please don’t. Also there are lots of horse drawn buggies, camels and donkeys that will transport you around the site, we personally don’t use this mode of transport as you cannot be sure of the welfare of the animals.