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BECOME INDIANA JONES FOR A DAY!
Petra clearly is one of the wonders of the world. It’s a place we have always wanted to visit, and it doesn’t disappoint!
Petra means “rock” in Greek, and it’s easy to see where the city got its name from. Amazing buildings have been excavated from the mountains surrounding it, more than 2,000 years ago. The colour of the sandstone in the Red Rose City and the heat of the desert will follow you and will leave an impression that is hard to forget.
Here are the things not to miss in Petra:
1| Walk through the Siq at sunrise
There is nothing quite like walking through the Siq in the early hours of the morning. You will pretty much have the site to yourself and will be able to discover the path to the Treasury almost in solitude. The Siq, which means “gorge”, is a path around 1-kilometre long that twists and turns between cliffs eroded by nature.
Take your time to explore the Siq, surrounded by the impending walls that can reach 150 meters tall. There are an odd stillness and silence that will follow you through the rocks, and once you reach the end of the Siq, you will start to catch a glimpse of the sun again, and there you will find yourself in front of an awe-inspiring sight: the Treasury.
2| The Treasury
The Treasury, Al-Khazneh, is as impressive as you can imagine, carved directly into the cliff face and standing forty meters tall above you. You will feel like Indiana Jones, standing in front of it!
We reached The Treasury early in the morning when the sunlight showed us the most beautiful sight, but we recommend going back between 5 and 6 pm when the whole cliff reflects the red-rose colour that gives the name to this ancient city.
3| The Monastery
Reaching The Monastery is a little adventure in itself!
There are 800 steps that are waiting for you on the ascent to the top. But, even if you feel like you have had enough of monuments carved into the rock, the route itself with the wonderful views of the desert should be enough to convince you to keep climbing.
There are lots of kids that will offer you to ride a donkey to the top by saying “Air-conditioned taxi, mister?”, but we preferred using our own leg power.
During the climb, you will find yourself thinking often “We must be almost there”, or, “It can’t be much further”, only to turn and see another steep set of steps to climb.
And then, after what seems like the longest possible climb in the excruciating heat…you get there!
It takes a while to take it all in. The Monastery facade is bigger than The Treasury, and although less ornate, its size is sticking. The facade is definitely outstanding! In front of it, there is a little cafe’ set up in a cave which is the perfect place to rest. Sit in the shadow and take time to enjoy the view.
While you are on the way down you will pass many people struggling on the way to the top, all asking “How much longer?”, or, “Is it far?”, or, “Is it worth it?”, and we can say without a doubt, It IS worth it!
4| Hiking to the Top for a Breath-taking View
While you walk through Petra, there will be many guides that will try to convince you to take a donkey ride or a camel ride. This wasn’t necessarily something that we wanted to do, but if you are quite fit and love hiking, we strongly recommend that you ask around for someone to guide you to the top of the Siq. We suggest you not to attempt the hike alone, as it’s not particularly safe to wander around these routes unless you are confident about where you are going – it is a steep ascent to the top!
The climb, starting from the Royal Tombs, will take you roughly an hour on the way up, or a couple of hours in total, if you are reasonably fit. Once you reach the top, there is a tea tent set up in which you can enjoy a nice drink. This is a definite must-see, you will not regret it!
5| Petra Kitchen
This is probably a little unconventional but it was one of the things we enjoyed the most during our stay in Jordan. We read about it on TripAdvisor and it didn’t disappoint.
Petra Kitchen offers an evening spent cooking Jordanian dishes with local chefs. All the dishes you will prepare and eat are made with local ingredients and the wonderful team from Petra Kitchen will give you a copy of all the recipes, so you can share the inspiring taste of Jordan with your friends and family back home.
We spent a lovely evening here – the food was delicious but most of all we met a lot of incredible people and shared an unforgettable experience with other visitors.
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