Petra Journals

A Rose-Red City Half As Old As Time

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An August 2009 trip to Petra by Liam Hetherington

The Iconic Shot Photo, Petra, Jordan More Photos
Quote: The mysterious lost city of Petra is now firmly on the tourist trail but this does not diminish its capability to awe and enchant. Its iconic facades and atmospheric wildernesses make the visitor feel they are stepping into an action movie...

Ancient City of Petra

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "A Rose-Red City Half As Old As Time"

The Treasury, Seen From Above Photo, Petra, Jordan
Quote:
There are few things more atmospheric than the phrase ‘lost city’. There are lost cities, remnants of civilisations that have vanished from the pages of history, scattered across the globe from the Yucatan to the Himalayas, from Angkor Wat to Machu Picchu. But one of the easiest to visit as a European is Petra in Jordan. This is the prime tourist attraction in the desert nation and facilities are well set up to handle and encourage tourism.This city, hidden in a maze of almost-impenetrable mountains, has a glorious history. It was a trading city, capital of the ancient N...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 30, 2010

Ancient City of Petra
Petra Gates To El Khasneh
Ma'an Governorate, Jordan

Day 1

Petra: The Siq

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Attraction | "Following In The Footsteps Of Indy"

Petra: The Siq Photo, Petra, Jordan
Quote:
Petra’s greatest asset – and also its worst asset – is its world-famous entrance. This is the iconic Siq, a narrow chasm torn through the rock. It is undeniably dramatic. However I have to admit that it is also extremely knackering. From the ticket office I walked 800m down a open path to the start of the Siq, and the route then took me 1.2km to reach the Treasury. So that is a 2km walk to even get into Petra proper. Now I, for instance, walked into – and out of – Petra three times in little over 24 hours, for my first afternoon of exploring, again to experience Petra By Night, and then again first thing the following morning. Which added up to 12km of walking before I added in the gound...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 30, 2010

Petra: The Siq
Entry Hike Into Petra
Petra, Jordan

El Khazneh

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Attraction | "Treasure Indeed"

The Iconic Shot Photo, Petra, Jordan
Quote:
Incredible as it might seem, the excitement of the Siq is just foreplay. It seems expressly designed to build up excitement and expectation. The climax came at the Treasury. The route narrowed one final time, and then opened out into a larger area. The Petra road angled sharply off right. And ahead of the exit from the Siq was a cliff face. But this cliff face had been hacked back in a giant rectangle and then carved into one of the most recognisable facades in the world, one I had long dreamed about. Indiana Jones might have brought it more fully to the world’s attention but if you are anywhere near as nerdy about history and archaeology as I am then quite frankly it is famous on its own merit...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 30, 2010

El Khazneh
Petra
Petra, Jordan

Ancient City of Petra

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Attraction | "Life In The City Of The Dead"

Ancient City of Petra Photo, Petra, Jordan
Quote:
Is it wrong to say that after the walk through the Siq to the Treasury the actual heart of the town of Petra was a bit of an anticlimax? I mean, really, what could compete with such a magical ‘reveal’? But archaeologically speaking the town centre, anchored on the valley of the Wadi Musa and the colonnaded Roman main street, tells us much more about life in Petra. Though this is still noticeably still a city of the dead – the majority of structures remaining continue to be tombs.I found it astonishing that most of what we were left with was comprised of burial places. The cliff faces yawned with regular black openings – these were the tombs, carved into the rock. Ornamentation and s...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 30, 2010

Ancient City of Petra
Petra Gates To El Khasneh
Ma'an Governorate, Jordan

The Monastery

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Attraction | "The Famous Facade Is Worth The Effort"

The Monastery Photo, Petra, Jordan
Quote:
Petra has two celebrated sights in particular. One is the Treasury, seen by every visitor. The other is slightly further out of the way. This is the Monastery (Al-Deir). If you persevere you will find it hidden away at the far end of Petra at the end of a narrow path that tracks up a mountain and back down the other side.I was informed that the route to the Monastery took 45 minutes from the restaurants. It actually took an hour. In the afternoon heat it proved to be a very stiff climb. The route winds up through a narrow valley and around the flank of one of Petra’s characteristic spiky russet mounts. I could not call it a continuation of the wide, well-trodden route that lead all ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 30, 2010

The Monastery
Hills above Petra
Petra, Jordan

Petra By Night

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Attraction | "Ancient Melodies Beneath The Stars"

Quote:
The Siq and Treasury are an unforgettable experience at any time. And this is doubly so after dark. By signing up to the Petra By Night tour I got to see these mysterious landmarks lit solely by the light of 1500 flickering candles, the sandstone walls and facades glowing a warm autumnal orange while the stars twinkled overhead. Yet while my abiding memories of my stay in Petra will all be about the things I saw (captured for posterity on my camera), my memories of Petra By Night are more fleeting, dominated by the recollections of the things I heard…Make no mistake, this ‘organised entertainment’ is a tour. Wandering off on your own is firmly not allowed – understandable considerin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 30, 2010

Day 2

Dawn Hike to Treasury Overlook

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Attraction | "Petra to Ourselves"

The Treasury, Seen From Above Photo, Petra, Jordan
Quote:
If I were to proffer just one piece of advice about visiting Petra it would be this: get there early. The gates open at 6AM and if you make the effort to get there then you are treated to a Petra as yet undiscovered by that day’s army of tourists. For and hour or two you get the entire site to play in, reliving that moment when Indiana Jones and his friends emerge from the Siq and gaze in wonder at the Treasury.Five of us roused ourselves at the very crack of dawn that Friday to make the excursion down to Petra. A local gave us a lift in the back of his pick-up for a reasonable 1JD each. We found the gates open and set off down the Bab as-Siq in the dim morning light. We breached th...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 30, 2010

The High Place of Sacrifice and Wadi Farasa

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Attraction | "In Search of the Treasures of Jordan"

Ready For Sacrifice Photo, Petra, Jordan
Quote:
Is there any more evocative place-name that that of the High Place of Sacrifice? The hills of Petra are collectively referred to as ‘the high places’, and there is something about the almost childish words that speaks of long-gone mysteries and terrors. It is a primal phrase, redolent of barbaric religions paying bloody sacrifice to their brutal wilderness gods. Of course, sacrifices in the name of religion are nothing new, whether they occurred in the jungles of Mexico, the bogs of Denmark or the forum of Rome. And of course Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son somewhere not too far from here (though obviously that was just a ‘test’ – and God permitted him to sacrifice a lamb...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 30, 2010

Wadi Musa

Wadi Musa-Wadi Mousa

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Attraction | "The Valley of Moses"

Wadi Musa-Wadi Mousa Photo, Petra, Jordan
Quote:
Wadi Musa is not an attraction in its own right, but unless you are being bussed in and out for a day-trip to Petra (why?) it is a town you will be seeing a lot of. It has grown exponentially – and potentially not very sustainably – since Petra became a proper tourist destination. Reading Appointment With Death by Agatha Christie certainly gives the impression that in the ‘30s Petra really was in the back-of-beyond. Now the village runs right up to the gates of the archaeological site and contains (nearly) all mod cons. The town has expanded to house not only the tourists, but also the workers associated with the tourist trade – Jordanians, Palestinians and guest workers from across the region ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 30, 2010

Wadi Musa-Wadi Mousa

Ma'an Governorate, Jordan

Elgee Hotel

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Hotel | "Elgee Hotel - Life's Good"

Elgee Hotel Photo, Petra, Jordan
Quote:
The town of Wadi Musa was not always called ‘Wadi Musa’. Strictly speaking that is the name of the valley within which it sits (and has caused me some problems with writing this journal, wanting to be clear that while ‘Wadi Musa’ – the stream – runs through the heart of Petra, Petra itself is down the road from ‘Wadi Musa’ – the town). The village’s original name was ‘Elgee’. This name now only seems to survive in the name of the Elgee Hotel.If Wadi Musa town has two distinct halves – the lower town nearer Petra where every building seems to be a restaurant, souvenir shop or hammam – and the upper more local town near the Shaheed roundabout, then the Elgee is firmly in the latter ca...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 30, 2010

Elgee Hotel
Near Shaheed Roundabout, Upper Town
Petra
+962 3 2156701