For those visitors on a whirlwind Jordan tour, Petra can easily be reached from Amman, Aqaba,Wadi Rum or from Eilat across the border in Israel.
Petra’s Nabatean Treasures
Petra’s Nabatean treasures demand attention, they deserve more. If you have ‘done’ Amman, raced round Madaba, and wondered at the magnificence of Wadi Rum you must stay longer in this ancient place only rediscovered in 1812 by the young Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burkhardt.
Petra Jordan A World Heritage Site
Designated a World Heritage Site in 1985 the area has since grown at an alarming rate. Former Queen Noor of Jordan complained bitterly that luxury hotels began to proliferate and uncontrolled development was devastating to the area. Today building is more controlled, sensitive to the environmental consequences of over-development.
The entrance toPetra is through the Siq, a narrow fracture carved through the towering rocks. A short walk, around one kilometre, brings you to the area’s most famous building, al Khazneh (the Treasury). The 40 metre high rose-red structure is carved from solid rock. Although it was originally a royal tomb legend tells us it got its name because there was treasure hidden in the giant urn, which stands on the second level. You can clearly see the urn is pockmarked with bullet holes; testament to the belief of local Bedouins who thought the story was true.
High Place of Sacrifice
There is so much more to see, those fit enough to climb the rough steps to the High Place of Sacrifice and the Tombs of Wadi Farasa are rewarded with a glimpse into the world of animal sacrifice. On top of the ridge is a flattened area with two large drains, which allowed the blood to flow away. There are also a number of altars cut into the rocks and the remains of the houses where the priests once lived are clearly visible. If that wasn’t enough there is a simply stunning view across the mountains.
Petra’s Weather and the Best Time To Visit Petra
The best time to visit Petra is between mid-January to the end of May when Petra’s weather is at its best, although by May it is starting to get quite hot. From June until September visitors from northern climates will struggle in the intense heat. During these months it is absolutely essential to carry a supply of water with you. November and December are the coldest months, particularly at night.
Petra tours can be arranged from the visitor centre but to get the best from your Petra experience book your hotel and tour before you go.
Get yourself a good guide book or better still a local guide and allow two or three days to see as many of the sites as possible. You can also hire camels, donkeys and horses if the legs are getting tired.