Petra, in Jordan, is one of the new seven wonders of the world. This ancient city dates to the second millennium BC connecting the east and the west.
For the past 2,000 years, the route to Petra has involved quite a bit of walking through the long Siq gorge. Surrounded by red and orange stones, it is a spectacular experience.
Ancient caravans would cross the Arabian desert with camels to reach the powerful Nabataean capital. Much more exhausting than today’s mode of transport by car!
The fascinating capital city was created by an Arab nomadic tribe, namely the Nabataeans.
Petra is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it well worth a visit.
The 40-meter Al Khazneh mausoleum was built by one of the Nabataean Kings and features beautiful patterns. The huge size of the facade is truly breathtaking.
Also referred to as “Treasury” because legend has it that the Egyptian pharaoh is hidden in the Al Khazneh mausoleum. If you look closely, you’ll see bullet marks on the urn, left by Bedouins early 20th century in their hunt for the legendary treasures.
At night, the candles in front of Al Khazneh are an unforgettable sight.
It was popular amongst Kings to be buried in Petra. One such Royal Tomb is the Urn Tomb. The mausoleum was turned into a church in the fifth century.
The Silk Tomb got its name because of the rich colors of the sandstone. The Corinthian and Palace Tombs were built in the first century AD, namely at the end of the Nabataean period.
Known as the Street of Facades, the stone tomb complex also features small cavities in the rocks. They were the burial places of officials, king’s confidants, and ministers.
The then vibrant city’s main part covered around three-square kilometers and became a Roman colony in 106 AD.
Petra’s majestic Amphitheatre is proof that its estimated 20,000 people were just the opposite of how we know it today, namely being referred to as “the city of the death”.
The Amphitheatre could seat around 8,000 people and hosted events such as races and gladiator fights.
About an hour’s walk from the capital, you’ll get to the well-preserved 50-meter-high temple Ad Deir, fully carved out of rock. This walk is certainly not for the faint at heart, because you have all eight hundred stairsteps ahead of you, but it’s worth seeing. Because the temple has no tombs, it is believed that the Ad Deir temple was used for solemn gatherings. The temple was used as a monastery from the fourth to the seventh century. Then it was abandoned because of extensive damage to Petra during a powerful earthquake.
Keep an eye out for the water canals. These handmade canals were carved in the cliffs to save water.