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Petra in Jordan (June 11, 2008)

Wake up early in the morning to join the Yitzhak Rabin border terminal. Traveling to Petra by taxi. A four hours walking tour of Petra and back to Israel.

Road to Petra


We woke up at 6 a.m. this morning. Once we had eaten breakfast and made our packed lunches for the day, we drove to the Yitzhak Rabin border crossing. It took around one hour to get across the border, to obtain a visa and to change money. We paid 20 Jordanian dinars (20€) per person to Petra by taxi for a full day excursion.

It took almost 2 hours to get from the border to Petra. First, the road was dominated by trucks then we turned off to the Kings Highway. The road runs through a high plateau which offers a superb view of the Wadi Araba, the valley running from the southern shore of the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.

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Aqaba view from Eilat.

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The Kings Highway.

View of the Wadi Araba.

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The Siq and the Treasury


We arrived at Petra at 10 am. The Petra entrance fee for one day was 22 euros per person.

Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is renowned for its rock-cut architecture: an architectural and geological wonder. Inhabited by the Edomites in the 8th century, Petra became the capital of the Nabateans. Although the area was inhabited by the Edomites during the 8th century, most of what can be seen at Petra today was built by the Nabateans. They settled in the area and laid the foundations of a commercial empire. From the 1st century BC through the 1st century AD, Petra prospered but declined in importance thereafter. Petra had been forgotten for centuries to the Western world until 1812, when it was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer.

The walk from this gate to the entrance of the Siq takes 15 minutes. The Siq is the main entrance to the ancient city of Petra. Once inside it is very impressive, the Siq narrows to little more than five metres in width.

Emerging into the sunlight after 1200 metres in the canyon, the 40 metres high facade of the Treasury appears. The Treasury or Al Khazneh in Arab is the best known of the monuments at Petra. Its Arabic name Treasury comes from a Bedouin legend that a stone urn at the top contained a treasure. Significant damage from bullets can be seen on the urn.

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The Siq: the entrance to Petra.

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Irrigation channels carved into the rock.

Petra, Israel

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Al Khazneh (The Treasury).

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The lower part


After sightseeing the Treasury, the path continues to the Street of Facades, a large canyon lined with the facades of various tombs. What a surprise to see the greatest number of tombs. Bedouins there offer camel, horse and donkey rides for some dinars.

The Street of Facades.

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Petra, Jordanie Petra, Jordanie

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Camels are another means of transportation to visit Petra.

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Probably the fastest donkey!

Beyond the beaten path


We beat a path upwards. Here monuments were less spectacular, but more atmospheric because there were fewer tourists. Over 800 monuments can be seen in Petra, carved into many-colored sandstone cliffs.

Along the way, we did a break to eat in one of the rock dwellings which are still inhabited by local Bedouins. From this place, we enjoyed the view of the monuments. It was hot but much more bearable than in the valley because the mean elevation of Petra is 1000 metres.

Then we followed the path, stairs have been cut into the cliffs. Along the stairs we passed the Tomb of the Roman Soldier and the Garden Tomb. We passed also a Bedouin woman who was sleeping in her souvenir stand. To whom could she sell her sand bottle?

The sinuous path continues to climb and past the top we walked down and reached the Street of Facades. It was time to leave, because the taxi was waiting for us. A last look to the Treasury and we walked back through the Siq.

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The Tomb of the Roman Soldier.

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The stairs carved into the rock.

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The Garden Tomb.

The sinuous path continues to climb...
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View from the Jebel Madbah.

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Petra, Israel

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Information


city Wadi Musa trend Profil
mountain 1050 m dl GPX
km 9 km (asc 500 m desc 500 m) ge KML

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