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Petra The Lost City in Jordan

Planning to visit Petra the lost city in Jordan?

Petra, a city of secrets,  is the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jordan and it is incredible. Be prepared for dust, dirt, heat, rain and what else the weather can throw at you. What does Indiana Jones and Petra have in common? If you watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade you will recognise the rock formations in that movie with the unusual rock formations, tombs and temples in Petra. You could say that Indiana Jones put Petra back at the top things to see in the world – it is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site it is one of the New Wonders of the World that was chosen by over 100 million people in 2007.

We have visited the incredible Chichen Itza in Mexico and Angkor Wat in Cambodia but Petra could be our favourite.

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(Editor Update  2020)

Where is Petra

Petra lies a 3-hour drive south of the capital of Jordan, Amman.

Petra Map

Petra and its secrets
Map of Petra Jordan

History of Petra Jordan

Petra City was constructed by the Nabataeans in the Persian Empire around 6th Century BC. It was the heart of the desert trading centre, the Nabataeans being keen traders in spices, textiles, perfumes and incense. A major earthquake destroyed much of Petra during AD363. It is understood that the earthquake coupled with the changes in the trading routes left Petra city abandoned by its people. Johannes Burckhardt a Swiss explorer set out in 1812 to rediscover the red city known as the Lost City of Petra.

Air-conditioned donkeys in Petra
Donkeys with Air Conditioning

Petra Treasury

On the way to the Treasury, you will be offered rides of all sorts. We laughed at the men offering donkeys to ride, “they are air-conditioned” they said.  In regards to carriage rides, we say “think twice about a carriage ride as the horses’ hooves slip and slide on the ancient pathway, as they try to right themselves around each bend.”

Nothing prepares you for the sight of the Treasury as the Siq opens up and it is right there in front of you standing 40 metres high. You stand and gasp in wonder at the sight of the columns of this 2000-year-old monument, and wonder how on earth did they build this.  The Treasury is also known as Al Khazna. It is believed that the Treasury was constructed in 1st century BC and made out of iron-laden sandstone.  It was built as a tomb for King Aretas III. One of the secrets is that the Treasury was named and built for one of the Pharoahs to hide his treasures.

The Treasury at Petra
The Treasury


We came across visitors who thought that Petra was just the Treasury.  They were surprised that we had a 3-day ticket and that there was so much more to see. Don’t do Petra in a day, or two, take your time. There is much to see. Many steps to climb, awe-inspiring monuments to view as you wander through narrow gorges.

The Monastery

We enjoyed the Treasury but our favourite was The Monastery.  It is a challenging walk to get to the Monastery but you forget the number of steps you have climbed and the incline when you reach it. In fact, there are 800 steps, not counting of course. The Monastery dates back to the 1st century AD.

The Monastery at Petra
Mint Tea and Coffee time at the Monastery



Award yourself a cup of Mint Tea whilst you wonder at the beauty. Opposite the Monastery is a tea house and it is worth the time spent sipping your Mint Tea and just looking at this important Peta Monument.

One of the many souvenir shops in Petra
Wonderful Bedouin lady daily trading her wares

There are many shops scattered around Petra,  even on the many steps you have to climb to reach the Monastery.  These incredible women climb the steps every day to set out their stalls, through the heat, the rain and the strong winds just to make enough to support their families.

Tomb of the Roman Soldier.

Inside the Soldier Tomb in Petra
Amazing internal view of this ancient Soldier Tomb

The internal view of the Tomb of the Roman Soldier. This is one of the best-preserved tombs and archaeologists believe it was constructed in the 1st century AD.

The external view of the Tomb of the Roman Soldier in Petra
Amazing view of the Tomb of the Roman Soldier from the outside

The entrance to the Tomb of the Roman Soldier.

The High Palace of Sacrifice.

The High Palace of Sacrifice in Petra
Amazing views that encapsulate the High Palace of Sacrifice feel

It is one of the highest viewing points within Petra, it is an upward climb of about 40 minutes.  We left this till the second day.  There are two ways to return the first is to travel down the way you came or take the route at the back of the mountain that takes about 2 hours, it is worth it just to see the amazing colours of the rock formations on the way.

The Urn Tomb

Urn Tomb, Petra
Urn Tomb majestic in the evening violet-purple rays

Built high on the side of a mountain, the Urn Tomb is one of the Royal Tombs constructed around 70 AD.

The Amphitheatre

The Ampitheatre in Petra
To sit and imagine is a must do when visiting The Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre was constructed out of the mountainside to seat over 8,500 people in the 1st Century AD.

It’s Secrets

The secrets of Petra? There will be more secrets revealed as they excavate more of the Lost City of Petra. Only a small part of Petra has been excavated, there are new discoveries happening every day. The Nabataeans were advanced in “water harvesting” especially in the dry desert conditions of Petra.  During their wet season that were able to collect water in the channels that they had carved out of the rock formations, the channels were similar to aqueducts.  Apparently, they even sold the water.

Where To Stay In Petra

We combined our two night stay in Petra with a night staying in a bedouin tent at the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp and the second night at its sister hotel The Rocky Mountain Hotel.

We would recommend combining a night in the Bedouin Tent for the experience as in the morning they drive you to the Entrance of Petra as well.  It is a fun night eating dinner around the campfire.  The Rocky Mountain Hotel has the best views over Petra in the evening so we would recommend staying the rest of the time there. It is in walking distance to the Entrance.

Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp


Book your Bedouin Camp Experience here

Read other travellers reviews and see travellers photo of the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp here from Tripadvisor.

Rocky Mountain Hotel

Check out the latest deals and availability at the Rocky Mountain Hotel Here

Read here what other travellers have said about the Rocky Mountain Hotel and their latest photos.


Getting to Petra

We were staying at the Amman Pasha Hotel in Amman. We would recommend the Amman Pasha Hotel. The restaurant served excellent food and at night there is entertainment from the staff, which you should not miss.  They arranged for a driver to collect us from the Airport.  Many travellers were staying there on the first night and we got chatting with a New Zealand couple who hired a driver to take them to Petra visiting the sights along the way.  They asked us to join them to help split the costs. It was a perfect outcome.  We had considered taking the bus the next morning with a very early start but we would recommend that you try and do the same.  We arranged for the driver to bring us back from Petra and take us directly to the airport.  He was very knowledgeable.


Check out the latest accommodation deals at the Amman Pasha Hotel here

Read travellers reviews and see latest photos on Tripadvisor of the Amman Pasha Hotel



Our Recommendations

As we will probably not return to Petra there are 2 things that we feel we should have done.  One is to hire a guide and the other is to visit Petra at night.

We also should have combined Petra with a visit to the Dead Sea.  There are many resorts available and they are only a 1-hour drive from Amman.


Tours To Petra


Entrance Costs for Petra

Entrance Costs: Tourists who stay overnight in Petra pay the following: (Prices are valid as from September 2021)

1 Day JD50

2 Days JD55

3 Days JD60

Day visits on a tour without staying a night JD90.


Related Reading:



Do you need a Visa for Jordan?

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To Travel Too Travel Shop – What To Wear In Petra

We recommend a good pair of walking shoes, hat, sunscreen and plenty of water. Also a scarf would come in handy for the dust storms that develop during the day. Check out our travel shop we have the products that we have suggested.

Travel Shop


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Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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