Ancient Petra From Above
Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the southern Jordanian governorate of Ma’an, it’s world famous for its intricate hand rock-cut architecture and amazing water conduit systems which still leave people in the 21st century in awe. Petra is also know as the Rose City.
Established possibly as early as 312 BCE as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it was rediscovered by the Swiss adventurer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812, until then it virtually lay untouched for nearly a millennium. Petra is a symbol of Jordan, as well as Jordan’s most-visited tourist attraction hosting around 8,000 visitors per day during peak times of the year. I travelled to Jordan to see Petra and fulfil my adventurous urge of discovery and ancient civilisations.
Climb The Top And See Petra From A Rare Angle
The Treasury is really stunning, once beyond the opening and into the valley you begin to marvel at the sheer beauty of design and colour of rock, sounds turn into echoes, tourists are paraded upon camels dwelling in front of the Treasury. We have all travelled from the four corners of the globe to come together to appreciate this wonderful discovery of the ancient world. Petra was a huge hub for traders of the past, they would come to trade in spices and frankincense, it was again famous for the Indiana Jones movie ‘Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade’.
Being here really made my heart content as far as adventure goes, my privately hired guide prepared me for what I was about to see, WOW! grinning from ear to ear I couldn’t have imagined it would be this spectacular, I had watched a documentary a week prior to my trip and it was like it had all suddenly come alive, I was there, I was staring up at the intricate carvings, each time you turn away and take a glimpse back it struck you all over again.
I had the opportunity to visit Petra 3 times during my weekend trip here in Ma’an, the first was Petra By Night whereby tourists have the pleasure of seeing the Treasury lit up by hundreds upon hundreds of lanterns whilst sipping tea listening to an old Bedouin tune being played on the flute – It is so beyond magical, you really have to see this if you can. The second time was by day, I hired a private guide, he was also the same guide the Canadian Prime Minister had a few weeks before my visit. The third time I hired an unofficial guide to take me off the beaten track, a route not so known compared to the official touristy one.
We hiked 2 hours in total to see the Treasury from above, getting to the top was hard work, hiking up hills, walking across cliff edges and jumping over crevices, finding the way trough buses and trees, following markers on the rocks left for others to find their way back. After reaching the top we sat on the highest ledge that hung out over the Treasury below, I took some photos and soaked in the amazing view, at one point a German tourist from the other side shouted over at us “Hey, how did you guys get over there?” we told him we came via a short cut because apparently the way he came took him 2.5 hours each way!, he moved so close to the edge at one point the guide yelled at him to get back! My heart was in my mouth!, I thought he would slip any second… I didn’t’ want to see another death, the day before I had seen a Western tourist die, he must have gone into cardiac arrest just past the Treasury. There was a crowed of people that gathered as he was being placed onto a stretcher it was all very quick and sudden, the medics threw him into the back of a mini ambulance, it was kind of traumatising to witness because as he was thrown into the vehicle his pale lifeless face hit the top and as the doors where slammed shut they hit his feet! It was terrible! I was really shaken up by this, the ambulance sped off towards the Bedouin village… I had heard he sadly died.. God rest his soul, Ameen. This trip is not for those with existing medical conditions.
There is about a 20 minute walk to see the main attraction from the entrance both, during this walk you will see many water conduit systems which the ancient tribes relied upon for fresh flowing water, you will see beautiful rock carvings, some of them shaped like fish, others the shape of men with camels – Do watch out for the “Made in China” sandal joke! There are many horse and carts constantly going back and forth dropping tourists off, most of which are the elderly as the paths are extremely bumpy and uneven due to the giant stones used. The walk is peaceful one and no matter how many times you walk it which I did a total of 3 times each way, you will almost certainly spot something new to marvel at.
If you look carefully you will see a preserved construction of a mans lower body showing his legs and his camel.
Jordan Tourist Bureau: Visit Jordan
Best Times Of Year To Visit: March – May and September – November
Currency: Jordanian Dinar
Accommodation: Marriott Petra
Cuisine: Food and Drink – About Jordan