Sunday, March 4, 2018

Petra Tour, Jordan

On Friday we took a day trip to Jordan in order to visit Petra.  From Eilat, we crossed the border to Jordan where we received our tourist visas.  From there our bus drove by Aqaba, العقبة, which is visible from Eilat, just across the Red Sea.  Aqaba was founded in 4000 BC and is home to around 150,000 people.
King Hussein, King Abdullah II, and Crown Prince Hussein

We then drove through Wadi Rum, which is the country's largest valley cut from sandstone and granite.  Wadi Rum is 60 km (37 miles) east of Aqaba.

We made a brief stop near Ma'an, معان.  It was founded sometime between the 2nd-4th century BC.  It was a perfect stop for some great views of the desert.

Petra, البتراء, is 138 km (85 miles) from Eilat.  It is an archaeological city that was built possibly as early as the 5th century BC.

Petra was originally known as Raqmu.  It was the capital city of the Nabataean kingdom making it a regional hub for trade.  By 700 AD the city was abandoned.

In 1812, the city was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer.  Petra is famous for its rock-cut architecture.  In 1985 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

After leaving the visitor centre, it is about a 600 metre walk (or optional horse ride) to the Siq which is a narrow gorge that leads to the ancient city.  The Siq is about one km long.  There are various carvings to look at along the way.

At the end of the Siq, the first thing you see is the treasury which is carved in to the rock.

Other sites to see include various tombs, a sacrificial palace, and an open theatre.  We only had about 1,5 hours to see as much as we could.  In a perfect world we could have spent two to three days exploring everything here.


In a 2007 poll, Petra was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. 

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