On our wonderful planet there are very few human elements fused so much and completely that don’t clash with the landscape around. One of these is the mysterious city of Petra.
Super famous after the Indiana Jones movie series, it remains one of the secrets still undisclosed for all the archaeologists. The ancient pink city finely carved in the rock is located in the southern desert of Jordan, at about 250 km from the capital Amman. It was discovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer who followed ancient legends about the remains of a lost civilization. It has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1985 and is considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Despite this, it still retains such a magical power that blends perfectly in fairy tales, old legends, ingenious intuitions and its own inaccessibility: you can reach it only on foot after a long walk, or on a horse ride.
Petra in one day | basic equipment needed
- Water (there is no way to buy it safely after entering the archaeological site)
- Sun protection
- Sun glasses
- Comfortable clothes
- Light trekking shoes
- Site map
Petra in one day | Travel plan
You can get there via several paths, but the most spectacular entrance remains the eastern one through a long and deep crack of the rocks called Siq.
To enjoy the view to the fullest, it is advisable to get up before dawn and set off around 6 in the morning. This way you will avoid both the hordes of loud tourists and the numerous street vendors. You can also admire the city with its splendid pink shades when the first rays of sun caress the rocky walls.
At the end of the first stretch of a long honey-colored canyon, you will reach a large square and the most spectacular monument of the entire archaeological park: the Pharaoh’s Treasure.
It’s a majestic facade engraved in the rock, about 40 meters high, whose use and historical purpose are still unknown. It is certainly surprising to find in the middle of the Middle Eastern desert and an imposing Hellenistic structure, so different from all that is expected to be seen in Jordan!
One almost has the feeling of secretly entering someone’s private and luxurious garden, breathing an air full of mystery at every step … and why not, the impression of being on a precious treasure hunt!
After a few photos and a small exploration around, you should follow the that path continues in a wide sandy corridor. It leads to the remains of a market, some temples and even a Roman theater.
At this point it should be around noon, the best time to admire the whole city from the top. Right next to the theater there is a very long staircase, which is worth the whole half hour’s hike and which leads to one of the most breathtaking natural panoramas: rocks carved by the wind in a honey colored texture interrupted from time to time by the darkness of some tombs carved in high sandstone walls.
If after this incredible view you get hungry or are heated by the climb, a little further on your left you can find the only refreshment point of the entire archaeological park: an interesting international restaurant, surrounded by tents and animals of the Bedouin population.
It’s called Basin Restaurant and even if the menu is not the most varied, I strongly recommend you to consider a stop here before starting the next long climb.
In fact, your visit to the site is not over yet! If you want to live the complete experience 800 more steps wait for you to go, under a super hot sun to reach another incredible architectural work. It is a monastery with wonderful golden shades even more mysterious and unknown than the facade of the Treasury. Nobody has ever been able to understand its true function or place it historically, who knows if you will be the one to discover something more!
At this point I advise you to take a moment for yourself, just enough time to catch your breath before going the whole way backwards. Look around you, breathe in deeply, admire the beauty and savor the flavor of conquest, reflecting on the uniqueness of what you have been able to appreciate and achieve.
Well, are you ready to go back? Here you are excellent news that I have kept hidden from you so far: the super interesting Cave Bar. It’s the oldest and most controversial bar in the world hidden in a tomb carved into the rock, just a couple of millennia ago. Very touristy spot but it satisfies the most curious and the perfect photo seekers to end properly an incredible day.
Land rich in colors, history and archeology.
Jordan is a destination to really consider!
It is absolutely worth it.