Petra Travel Guide
Petra Local History
The ancient city of Petra is believed to be inhabited since prehistoric times and remains found just north of the city at Beidha are believed to be of a 9000 year old city. Petra was the capital of the Nabateans Arabs who carved the wonderful tombs, temples and elaborate buildings out of solid rock.
For centuries Petra's existence was a closely gaurded secret known only to the local Bedouins and Arab tradesmen. In 1812 a young Swiss explorer called Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, who had converted to Islam, heard locals speaking of the lost city in the mountains and decided to look for Petra. Using a pilgrimage to the tomb of Aaron as an excuse he managed to bluff his way to the city and revealed the city to the rest of the world.
Siq - a 1.5km narrow winding valley leads into the actual Siq and along the way you will see dozens of local Bedouins with horses that you can hire to help you make the journey. Before reaching the Siq there are 3 square free standing tombstones on the right. Further along built high into the cliff on the lefthand side is the Obelisk Tomb which once stood 7m high and has 5 graves inside, 4 of which are represented by pyramid shaped pillars and the 5th by a statue between the midddle pillars. The path narrows to about 5 m in width as you enter the Siq and the walls tower above you at about 200 m. The walls have niches carved into them that held icons of the Gods said to protect the entrance and origional channels cut into the walls to carry water into Petra can still be seen. Petra is open 06:00 to 18:00 and costs about 20 dinars for a 1 day adult, non Jordanian ticket.
Al Khazneh - A Khazneh is Arabic for The Treasury and is one of the most elegant antique remains in Petra. Carved out of solid rock on the side of a mountain the Treasury stands over 40 m high and served as a royal tomb. The Treasury gets its name from the legend that pirates hid their treasure there in a giant urn which is located in the centre of the second level. Bullet holes are still visible on the urn where Bedouins fired guns at it to get to the treasure.
Main City Area - covering 3 square killometers the area has the royal tombs carved into the rock of Jabal Khubtha up on the right hand side. The first of the tombs is the urn tomb with its open terrace over a double layer of vaults and room inside that has striking paterns carved into the rock. The tomb also has inpressive views and was once a Byzantine church. Next is the Corinthian tomb which is apparently a replica of Nero's Golden Palace in Rome and finally Palace tomb, a three storey imitation of a Roman palace that is one of Petra's largest monuments.
Al Deir - Otherwise known as The Monastery, it takes about an hour to climb to Petra's most spectacular construction. The climb leads up the hillside from Qasr but the ancient path is not steep and is easy to follow. About one third of the way up on the left is the lion tomb that gets its name from the two lions located at the base. The Monastery itself takes its name from the crosses on the inside walls and the most distinguishing feature is its crowning urn which can be reached via another series of ancient steps. The views from the top of the monastery are spectacular and are not to be missed.
Nabatean Tent Restaurant This restaurant is located inside Petra on the other side of the ravine from the Basin rest.
This restaurant introduces 15 apatizers as cold stuff & 6 differnt hot meals with fruits and two kinds of sweet baclava or Um Ali as a dessert. All this food is daily prepared for the buffet style. All you can eat at set price.
submitted by Mohammd, 22/03/09
Petra Restaurants and Bars
Al Iwan Restaurant - located at the Moven Pick Resort, entrance to Petra. This restaurant has a formal yet intimate atmosphere and is the perfect place for a rmantic candlelit Middle Eastern rendezvous. The menu offers a fine blend of Eastern and Mediterranean flavour such as seafood carpaccio and pepercorn honeyed duck with couscous.
Al Arabi Restaurant - located in the centre of the village. A lovely ambiance with a Middle Eastern flair serving delicious traditional food such as hummus and falafel.
The Basin - located inside the old city of Petra. Situated at the base of the climb to the Monastery, the surroundings are enchanting and the food is superb. Try the hummus and bread as well as the most delicious falafels and kebabs.
Wadi Petra Restaurant - located inside Petra. A lovely setting with excellent service. The menu has tons of mainly western style food such as peper stek, hamburgers pizza and kebabs.
Petra Bars & Clubs
Crowne Plaza Resort - located at Wadi Mousa Petra. The resort has a nice lobby bar and an elegant vibey evening cocktail lounge with a popular dance floor that is open quite late.
Al Maqu - located at the Moven Pick Resort, entrance to Petra. Wonderful luxurious surroundings with intricately inlaid turquoise and gold leaf walls with hand carved wooden screens. This is the perfect place for a quiet drink and a light snack after a long day of sight seeing.
Atrium Lounge - located at the Moven Pick Resort, entrance to Petra. A great place to relax and meet before or after meals. The lounge serves drinks and snacks.
Know a thing or two about Petra ?
Please share your experiences and tips with your fellow travellers.
Your personal details and email address won't be published.
Fields with an * are required. Errors will be indicated in red