The World Heritage city of Petra, capital of the Nabataean Arabs from the 1st century BC is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. It was later annexed by the Romans until an earthquake destroyed much of the city in the 4th century. In 1812 a Swiss explorer, Johannes Burckhardt “rediscovered” Petra and it has attracted visitors ever since.

With over 800 registered sites and 45 km of paths, Petra is HUGE! We had three days, spent a few hours each day on specific sections to avoid “monument overload” and only had just a glimpse.

We stopped at Little Petra (click here) on the hike from Dana, a great introduction. It was probably a “suburb” of Petra, housing traders along the Silk Road. Next day Fatima led us around the ancient city of Petra from the Monastery via a long narrow gorge to emerge through the Tunnel near the main entrance. A 6.30 start on the final day allowed us a relatively calm tour of the Siq (narrow gorge leading into Petra), the iconic “Treasury” and beyond. Our guide, Moath brought the city to life for us and we really enjoyed his passion for the Nabataean’s history.

We arrived at Petra via the “Monastery” (50m high x 45m wide), probably a Nabataean temple

There are 800 steps up to the Monastery from the main entrance to Petra

Camels carved into the sandstone, now worn away

When the Romans arrived they modified Petra in their own style

One of the Royal Tombs

Mosaics on the floor of the Byzantium Church, 5th century

Sextius Florentinus Tomb, 2nd century – inside are inscriptions in Latin

An unfinished tomb shows the beauty of the sandstone

Fatima took us out through the little visited Tunnel route where …

… water carved a narrow passage

Nabataens cut the 88m long Tunnel, diverting flood waters to protect Petra

Obelisk Tomb – pyramids represent the people buried here, below is the banqueting hall

Moath takes us into the Siq, 1200m long main entrance to the city of Petra

The Romans paved the Siq with hard stone

Carving of a man with a camel was damaged during restoration
Note the water channel below the camel’s body that the Nabataeans built to deliver water into Petra

Our first glimpse of The Treasury – two boys gaze up in wonder

The Treasury, constructed in the 1st century BC is 40 meters high and intricately decorated with Greek, Roman and Syrian influences. It was carved (not built) out of the sandstone over a period of decades, starting at the top

Everyone has a selfie at The Treasury, even us

The Street of Facades, a cliff face with a cluster of tombs arranged in ascending rows

Tombs lining the Outer Siq, with souvenir stalls in front

The Theatre can accommodate 4000 spectators, built 4BC-AD27 later modified by the Romans

Rough wall relief inside a tomb showing two snakes attacking a dog

Moath led us back via a “nature trail” to avoid the crowds