Step back into a time of lost cities and mystical pasts when you visit Petra. This surreal city is housed in southwestern Jordan, in a valley amongst mountains that run from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Discovered in 1812 by a Swiss traveler, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, Petra was later declared a World Heritage site in 1985. The history of Petra is somewhat ill-defined, passed from its original creators 6th century Nabataean Arabs , down through to Romans and later to Crusaders, it was eventually left to locals.
The entry way to this amazing archeological site is a stretch of narrow gorge that is called a Siq, created by a natural geographical fault. This passage measures over a mile in length, towers over 600 feet high in some section and can be as narrow as 3 meters wide in places. As the Lost City of Petra gradually appears through the last corners of the Siq, a feeling of the purest and unmatched awe overcomes visitors lucky enough to grab this experience. Passed over by time, this city carved into the rock face is testament to a time of the silk trade, connecting routes that linked China and India with places like Egypt, Rome and Greece.
The best times to visit Petra are between March - June or September - November.
Odds n' Ends
To take in all of Petra you should plan a minimum stay of two days for touring around the different parts. Some things to keep in mind before you head into Petra is to prepare for a lot of walking, you can see a lot of it by horse and cart, but the hikes are well worth the effort for those that can hack it. Stock up on good socks and band aids for those tricky blisters. Be sure to have cash, as you will pay top dollar for beverages on site, which might be a blessing in disguise as toilet facilities are at a premium. Other sites to consider visiting if you are in the area is Lawrence of Arabia's Wadi Rum, south of Petra, or the Roman ruins of Jerash, north of Amman.
Get a true taste of Egypt and the Middle East. Travel on a Felucca down the Nile, rub shoulders with Nubian villagers in Egypt and Bedouin people in Jordan, and take in the ancient sites of Petra, Luxor and the most famous of the all, the Great Pyramids of Giza!
Places to Stay Nearby
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Lying in the arid region of Southern Israel, the Negev Desert covers a vast plot of land and showcases various interesting topographies. It includes three crater-like box canyons called Makhtesh Ramon, Makhtesh Gadol, and Makhtesh Katan. Rocky by nature, the Negev is a collection of moon-like mountains and extremely dusty. Despite this, there is a burgeoning travel movement underway. If the promise of adventure suits your taste, leave behind civilization for a few days and prepare to be lost in the lap of nature. The five different ecological regions of the Negev Desert are northern, western, and central Negev, the ...33 miles away.
Ancient cities, desert landscapes and the most intriguing sea in the world: Lonely Planet's Jordan covers them all. But venture beyond Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea for activities coverage you won't find in any other guidebook. Hiking, scrambling, rock climbing, camel trekking, 4WD excursions - there's more adventure here than Lawrence of Arabia had time for.
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