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Petra…The Lost Oasis

Good day to all of my friends below the Cloud. I hope your day is warm and there is a smile on your face!

Like many, I have always dreamed of finding a lost city. In these days of Google Earth, there are not some many places left to look. If you want to visit a place that seems undiscovered, though, you can do no better than to visit the astonishing site of Petra in Jordan. Petra was featured in the film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and it is a placed crammed full with adventure!

Petra was first inhabited more than 11,000 years ago and it was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom from the Fourth Century BCE when it was turned into a beautiful artificial oasis by gifted engineers that designed water capture and dispersal systems that rival almost any modern development. The ancient engineers turned the desert into pleasure gardens that featured fruit orchards, majestic palm trees, flowers and hundreds of fountains. Petra was a major stop on the caravan routes that carried the luxury items of the East toward the Mediterranean lands. The Nabateans became wealthy and adorned their capital to reflect their success. After the Romans captured the territory, however, the site went into decline and eventually was only inhabited by the occasional Bedouin family until it was re-discovered in 1811. Now, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site just waiting for you to visit!

The Petra site is enormous, covering 264 square kilometres (102 square miles) and there is so much to see. Once entering the site, there is a 1.2 km (0.75 mile) walk downhill from the visitor’s centre through a soaring canyon known as Al Siq. Around one final corner in Al Siq is a narrow crack through which the ‘Treasury’ can be spied. This building, carved from the rock of the canyon is the picture that everyone has of Petra, but it is only the beginning of this huge site. After spending time exploring and admiring the Treasury, if you walk toward the right and then take a quick left, the entire site opens majestically with beautiful rock-carved buildings lining both sides of the canyon. The vista is breath-taking to behold

Here’s a pro-tip: There are daily candlelit tours down the Al Siq to the Treasury where Bedouin musicians offer a haunting candlelight concert while spectators sit gazing up at the stars in front of one of the most imposing sites in the world. Don’t miss the night-time tour!

Being a sun-worshipper, my favourite spot in all of Petra is the High Place of Sacrifice that perches precariously 170 meters (560 feet) above the canyon floor. This must-see jewel is a 45 minute hike up seemingly endless stairs until the last 8 meters (25 feet) which must be climbed via a ladder cut into sheer rock. The view of the High Sacrifice Place and from its un-guard-railed edge cannot be missed or forgotten!

Another pro-tip: The suggested way of returning to the canyon floor is a beautiful but long 2.5 hour hike down the back of the site. If you don’t want to spend that time, simply retrace your path upwards. You may have to give way to a few sight-seers headed up, but going down is much quicker and easier than going up.

Petra is a day-trip on a bus from Amman if you leave early and return in the late evening. If you want a taxi down, however, the driver will stay in Wadi Musa and take you back to Amman when you like. Rental cars are a good option because the roads are excellent and well sign-posted. Taking a car allows you to explore other sites like the Crusader Castle at

Karak, the Dead Sea and the Baptism Place of Jesus on the Trans-Jordan. Just be careful of the traffic in Amman – it is incredible!

There are many hotel options in Wadi Musa, the settlement closest to Petra. These options range from major hotel chains like the Marriott to youth hostels with all price ranges in between. My favourite                    

is the Movenpick which is literally four meters (12 feet) across a small road to the gates of the Petra site. Bedouin food features lots of grilled lamb, chicken and similar dishes along

with salads, olives, cheeses and small plates. However, there are options for all dietary needs at the many restaurants in Wadi Musa.

The local Bedouins produce beautiful works of art from small jewellery trinkets to large carpets. It is great to support the Bedouin families, who sell these souvenirs, because it allows them to continue their nomadic way of life. There is even a small gift stand on the top of the High Place of Sacrifice.     

One final pro-tip: If you are tired after climbing and walking after a long day on the Petra site, you can rent a horse buggy to carry you back up Al Siq to the Visitor’s Centre. Beware that most buggies don’t have shock-absorbers so your bum may hurt more than your tired feet well before you arrive!

Petra is one of the exciting lost places of the earth that can be discovered easily by travellers today. You’ll love exploring its many monuments and ruins!

Love,

Isabella

Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Al Siq candle lit tour, The High Place of Sacrifice (http://www.visitjordan.com/)

Where to eat: Petra Kitchen, My Mom’s Recipe Resaurant (https://petrakitchen.com/, http://www.mymomsreciperestaurant.com/)

Where to party: The Cave Bar, Kilkenny Bar

Where to eat: Petra Kitchen, My Mom’s Recipe Resaurant (https://petrakitchen.com/, http://www.mymomsreciperestaurant.com/)

Where to eat: Petra Kitchen, My Mom’s Recipe Resaurant (https://petrakitchen.com/, http://www.mymomsreciperestaurant.com/)

Visit the Rock of Ages!
Isabella’s Checklist

What to see: Al Siq candle lit tour, The High Place of Sacrifice (http://www.visitjordan.com/)

Where to eat: Petra Kitchen, My Mom’s Recipe Resaurant (https://petrakitchen.com/, http://www.mymomsreciperestaurant.com/)

Where to party: The Cave Bar, Kilkenny Bar

Where to eat: Petra Kitchen, My Mom’s Recipe Resaurant (https://petrakitchen.com/, http://www.mymomsreciperestaurant.com/)

Where to eat: Petra Kitchen, My Mom’s Recipe Resaurant (https://petrakitchen.com/, http://www.mymomsreciperestaurant.com/)

Visit the Rock of Ages!

2 Comments to “Petra…The Lost Oasis”

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    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement! We want to create a blog that will be interesting and also useful to our readers. Thus, comments like yours are very important to us. Let us know if you have any additional questions we might answer.
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      Isabella and Bart

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