Petra – day 1

Where does one even begin when it comes to describing Petra? This huge ancient site isn’t one of the Seven Wonders of the World for nothing. It made the status because it truly is an awe inspiring amazing site, and after having visited a few of the other ones, I have to say Petra would be the best (in my opinion). Anyone who is half a tourist has heard of Petra. Everyone knows of the main iconic site, the Treasury. Even some of the dopey school mums who had no idea where Jordan was would realise where I was going when I said, “you know, Petra, that was in the Indiana Jones movie and has that beautiful building carved into rock”. You’d get a nod and a glint of recognition from even the most ignorant and least travelled of people. But even I have to admit I was totally ignorant to the sheer size of the site. I knew of the iconic Treasury building, and maybe the Monastery, and that’s all I thought it was. The truth is Petra is soooo much more. It is hundreds of countless tombs, where if you find one off the main path is all yours to savour (after walking in the 40 degree heat the natural cooling relief of stone is amazing!). Petra is seeing local Bedoiun riding camels and donkeys, with their eyes lined in kohl, looking exotic and some are very handsome. Petra is rock, in all shapes and sizes, rock that is natural, rock that is hewn to benefit those that settled here. It is a place which yes, can be overrun with tourists, but because of its massive size it is more than easy enough to find a quiet spot to yourself. Move away from the Treasury and the crowds do thin out.

I had two full days in Petra, which I was so grateful for. Being the peak of summer, at around 40c the chance to take it easy and not feel rushed was definitely required. I got to explore pretty much every main trail and side lookouts, I got to sit in a little shack and drink ice cold mint and lemon, I could take the time to chat to a cheeky local who says she has cousins in Sydney and could she have my suncream which I had hanging on a caribiner. (she thought the mini suncream hanging off my bag was the coolest thing she’d ever seen). Having two days is definitely my recommendation to experience all that this huge site has to offer.
Please follow me on my first day itinerary….

The first 800 metres from the entry gate take you last djinn blocks and the obelisk tomb
There are carvings and writings everywhere – having a guide point them out can be helpful!
For about 1.2km you walk through a canyon called the siq. It’s an amazing walk through 200 metre high walls
The first glimpse through a tiny slot of the Treasury is one of those travel moments you won’t forget!
No words can prepare you for the scale of the carvings that is the treasury (Al-Khazneh)
The theatre was built by Nabateans by carving out of the rock.
While most on a one day tour might continue on the main red path to the monastery, we detoured to explore the upper royal tombs.
The colour of carved stone inside the tombs was amazing!
The Urn Tomb has Doric columns carved out of the rock. So intricate and delicate.
We took the higher path above the main colonnaded street to see the Byzantine Church, which was built on a former Nabatean site around 530AD.
I kept the Monastery for day 2 and took a turn back to climb up to the High Place of Sacrifice (Al- Madbah)
It was a tough climb but as we got higher the views became awesome!
Overlooking the main thoroughfare
looking towards the theatre
at the top!
At the top of the high place there was a boy running all over the rocks screaming and cursing at his donkey which kept running away. I was laughing so hard, and also concerned at how dangerous it would be for an Aussie kid to run around near sheer drops!
The altar area of the sacrificial rock, where those involved in the sacrifice would have had their supper.
Where they killed the animals. There was a channel (seen in the photo) where the blood could flow away
dinner at “My Mom’s Recipe” was awesome. Grilled meats and an ice cold lemon and mint was definitely on the cards
After having walked 13.2km, 67 floors and 21,405 steps in 40 degree heat a few more drinks at the Cave bar was required. One of the only places you can get alcohol in the town of Wadi Musa (which is where Petra is)
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18 Responses to Petra – day 1

  1. leggypeggy says:

    Thanks for this wonderful trip down memory lane. My husband and I were married in a Jordanian village. We visited Petra often and our second daughter is named after this gorgeous rose red city.

  2. John says:

    Love it Anna, Petra and Wadi Rum are places I’d love to go to.

  3. thebeerwanderer says:

    Sounds stunning, Anna.

  4. lexklein says:

    Like you, I did not anticipate the size of the overall complex at Petra. I am a big walker, but the couple of days we spent slogging around there in searing heat was exhausting! Still, it was incredible, and I would not have missed it for the world.

    • Anna says:

      You could see people really struggling with the size of the site and the searing heat, lucky being quite the walker myself and used to scorching heat (41c in Perth today) it was just another day in the park so to speak! Although I will admit to being exhausted and in bed early on my Petra days! Lol

  5. Bama says:

    I also didn’t anticipate Petra to be that expansive! All I knew was the Treasury, the Monastery, and some royal tombs, but I never expected the entire city to be THAT impressive. Petra really is an incredible site, and you can only appreciate this by seeing it for yourself. I decided to take a break from posting my stories from Jordan because after Madaba my next post from the country will be on Petra, and I must admit I don’t know where to start to do this place justice. So I ended up posting stories from my other trips instead. I spent three days in Petra, and that was easily the highlight of my trip to Jordan.

    • Anna says:

      I felt the same Bama! It was so hard to write about Petra and how awesome it is, that I kind of “gave up” and just posted a photo journey of my day instead. Lol. I have so much I want to write and share but just too busy/tired/parenting to give Petra the post it truly deserves. I look forward to your post when ever you do end up doing it!

  6. I have a trip to Jordan planned in March so have thoroughly enjoyed your Petra posts. Can’t wait to check out the rest!

    • Anna says:

      Oh you are going to love it I am sure! Such an amazing country! I’ve still got a few posts to write up about Wadi Rum, Dead Sea and Aqaba but I have been lazy. Lol. Enjoy!

  7. Toonsarah says:

    Loved seeing your excellent photos of Petra – brought back lots of memories!

  8. Angela says:

    You walk a lot🙂 Amazing trip!

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