My life plan is to visit all the 7 man-made Wonders of the World (and the natural ones too, at some point!) I visited Taj Mahal a few years ago, so when a work trip to Jordan came knocking, PETRA PETRA PETRA was on my mind! One of the world’s most archaeological sites, Petra was home to the Nabatean peoples thousands of years ago. Intricate buildings were carved into solid rock. Situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea and inhabited since prehistoric times, the rock-cut capital city of the Nabateans, became during Hellenistic and Roman times a major caravan centre for the incense of Arabia, the silks of China and the spices of India, a crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. Petra is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. An ingenious water management system allowed extensive settlement of an essentially arid area during the Nabataean, Roman and Byzantine periods. It is one of the world’s richest and largest archaeological sites set in a dominating red sandstone landscape.
This being probably the most famous tourist site in Jordan, there are many many hotels of all ranges outside the ancient city, in Wadi Musa. Now while I like a little luxury, I wanted to spend more of my money on visiting and buying souvenirs, so I asked my local cab driver/travel agent Osama to find me a good place. And so I entered Rocky Mountain Hotel where I paid 30USD for my one night. This included dinner and breakfast. Owned by beautiful soul Jenny and her husband, Rocky Mountain is really a warm, friendly place! I also met one of the most inspirational women ever, Aminah Kausar, who left her home in UK to go to Jordan and help refugees. She now has her own charity, Humanitarian Family Aid , check her out and support a good cause! The hotel had a beautiful rooftop lounge, and served yummy labneh with jam, meat and rice, and pita, amongst other treats!
Now back to Petra – I highly suggest getting a day and night pass (about 70 JD if I remember well!). Be prepared to WALK
– free horse ride for the first kilometre! After that, get down, and be blown away with what you will see! The Siq, the entrance to Petra, is a natural geographical fault that the Nabateans used to their advantage! The Siq opens to Al Khaznah, The Treasury , almost 40 meters high and intricately decorated with Corinthian capitals, friezes, figures and more. The Treasury is crowned by a funerary urn, which according to local legend conceals a pharaoh’s treasure.
Pass by the Street of Facades , the Silk Tomb, and choose to make the climb to either one or both of the High Place of Sacrifice and the Monastery. Personally I loved the Monastery – its so overwhelming, take a photo or five, sit down and have pomegranate juice! Now just relax and let your mind wonder…..
On the way, there are often many men on donkeys and camels, dressed EXACTLY like Captain Jack Sparrow, who will ask if you would like their Ferrari donkeys- if hiking or walking up is strenuous, take the donkey!
There are daily buses from Amman to Petra, and from other locations too!
To more Wonders of the World!