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Think about strolling into Petra, Jordan with out the hustle and bustle of vacationers clamoring over one another for images and mule handlers and memento stall sellers harassing you for enterprise?
You’ll get it quickly sufficient once you get into the center of town. A spot like Petra deserves silent house to soak up its magnificence and ponder its magnificence.
The backdoor hike into the Historical Metropolis of Petra provides you that. It was one of many best things I did in Jordan on my one-week trip with Globus.
I had by no means heard of it till I arrived within the close by city of Wadi Musa and was instructed to lace up my boots!
Most individuals arrive down the 1.2 km Siq – the curving purple and orange canyon path into Petra that leads straight to the entrance façade of the long-lasting Treasury – essentially the most well-known web site in all of Jordan.
The again door takes you alongside a 9-mile hike by means of the rugged, mountainous terrain to the traditional Rock Metropolis. (It was a number of miles earlier than we even reached the again door!)
It’s undoubtedly one of many best things to do in Jordan and essentially the most distinctive option to expertise Petra.
Should you don’t need to do that hike, this put up will nonetheless provide you with fascinating info about Petra, journey logistics, and the various issues to see and do in Petra.
Petra is a spectacular sandstone metropolis constructed within the third century BCE by the Nabataeans within the coronary heart of the mountains between the Crimson Sea and Useless Sea. This location allowed it to develop into an essential metropolis on the most important buying and selling route connecting Mesopotamia and Egypt.
Caravans would cease right here to commerce and refresh earlier than persevering with their journey transporting uncommon gadgets resembling pepper, sugar, ginger, cotton, frankincense, and myrrh.
With the tolls and companies Petra offered it was a really rich society and, at one stage, it accounted for 35% of Roman earnings.
At its peak within the first century BCE, Petra was residence to nearly 35,000 residents. As Romans are need to do, they invaded Petra in 106 CE, forcing the Nabateans to give up. They dominated town for greater than 250 years. The Byzantines took over management governing town for round 300 years.
What makes this capital metropolis of the Arab Nabataeans so distinctive and spectacular are its monumental buildings, tombs, theaters, and complicated irrigation system carved straight into the gentle purple stone.
It wasn’t simply buildings carved into cliff faces although, the Valleys of Petra additionally housed various freestanding buildings as nicely.
In 1985, Petra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage web site and it was voted as one of many New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
Petra is named the Rose Metropolis” due to the colour of the stones utilized in its buildings.
Petra is not only the Treasury. It’s truly 263 sq. kilometers – the scale of fifty,000 soccer fields. And amazingly, archaeologists have solely uncovered about 18% of it to date.
Why is Petra often known as a Misplaced Metropolis?
Are you able to consider this unbelievable and expansive metropolis truly pale into obscurity over a thousand years in the past?
An earthquake in 363CE destroyed most of the freestanding buildings and town began its decline. One other tremor within the seventh Century just about wiped it off the map.
It’s arduous to fathom that, what’s now one of the crucial visited sights in Jordan and world wide, was left to the desert mud. It wasn’t fully misplaced although, for hundreds of years it was recognized solely to native Bedouin tribes dwelling within the space.
In 1812, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer, rediscovered Petra and introduced it again into the world’s highlight.
Our Guided Hike into Petra
This hike into Petra takes you thru Jordan’s beautiful desert panorama with breathtaking views of the mountains and throughout the extensive basin of Wadi Araba. At occasions, the hazy view stretches throughout the Useless Sea into Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
As there was nobody else round, it actually gave a way of what it should have felt like using out and in of Petra 1000’s of years in the past in your buying and selling caravan.
The path begins close to Little Petra, which I didn’t know on the time. The great thing about a information means you’ll be able to simply change off your orientation antennas and simply comply with and luxuriate in.
Our personal information, Abdullah met us at our resort and took us to the beginning level by the facet of the freeway in the course of nowhere.
We started by strolling throughout the plain till we veered to the left up a small hill to the place we noticed the one signal for the complete path. That is the precise begin to the Again Door Path, and you’ll rent a 4×4 to drop you there.
The path goes up and down by means of small valleys, up staircases minimize into the rock face, and round stunning mountains with beautiful ledges for viewpoints and images and resting factors.
We handed only a few folks and got here throughout a few locations the place you might have a Bedouin tea or espresso. (They have been closed because it was off-season.) We even had a enjoyable photograph alternative with a random deserted automobile.
I extremely suggest you are taking a neighborhood information on this 9-mile hike into Petra. You may simply get misplaced on the path that has little signage.
Plus, having a information will provide you with a deeper perception into Petra’s historical past, and the desert mountain world. (And it’s a implausible option to help native financial system)
Abdullah identified particulars we in any other case wouldn’t discover just like the wine vats, water tanks, tombs, and areas of the Holy Land stretched out throughout the views in entrance of us.
He identified the precious juniper tree, a wooden nice for constructing with very lengthy fibers like human muscle. Due to its excessive alcohol it’s toxic to bugs and so gained’t ever rot.
He shared a lot concerning the historical past of Petra from the Nabateans, to the Roman invasion, to its eventual demise.
I beloved studying how the pagan Nabadeans created a rich society that revered ladies, forbade prostitution and slavery, paid folks what they have been price, and engineered a world that existed in concord with Mom Nature.
How did we go unsuitable and stray so removed from this superb path?
I’m grateful we skilled Petra on this hike with Abdullah. With out him, I could by no means have seen past its spectacular bodily realm.
Petra Again Door Path Ideas:
You’ll climb a number of stairs all through the hike, however aside from that, it’s not too strenuous. I’m an skilled hiker and really match. Should you aren’t both of these you might discover it difficult. I might, nonetheless, take my youngsters on this hike with me.
Be sure you have good sturdy, strolling footwear, loads of water, snacks, and solar safety.
In case you are doing this in the summertime months, it would be best to begin at dawn. We had a 70-degree winter day and it felt a lot hotter and extra intense within the direct line of the desert solar.
Be sure you arrange your tickets into Petra earlier than beginning this hike. You can not purchase tickets as you enter into the Monastery facet, however your tickets will probably be checked. In case you have the Jordan Cross, get it stamped on the customer middle earlier than you do the hike as nicely.
You possibly can rent guides on the Petra Customer Middle in Wadi Musa. You can also bok this private guide for the back door trail via Viator.
Issues to do and see in Petra, Jordan
Now let’s take a look at what you see when you arrive in Petra. Bear in mind in case you are not doing this backdoor hike in, you’ll arrive by way of the Siq from the Customer Middle in Wadi Musa. The Treasury will probably be the very first thing you see.
Soar all the way down to that part within the put up and work backward if it will get too complicated. I’m going to comply with the path as I skilled it from the Monastery into the Treasury.
NOTE: The Globus Escape Tour of Jordan organizes a tour information on your day journey to Petra coming in by way of the Customer Middle and the Siq. i.e. Not doing the again door path!
You are able to do it your self because the customer middle have self-guided maps. I personally suppose as it is a as soon as in a lifetime expertise, you rent a information as you’ll be taught a lot extra from the knowledgeable, native perspective.
This tour guide comes highly recommended on Viator in order for you a information to take you although Petra.
The Monastery, al-Deir
You’ll not neglect turning the nook in your hike and instantly seeing the Monastery rising out of the cliff face.
Because the Treasury is so well-known to the world, and the Monastery isn’t, I feel this would be the reminiscence that may most stay with me from my Petra tour.
It was a much-needed Oasis after two hours of strolling by means of the desert. It’s much like the Treasury in model and grandiose, however greater and extra sudden (and quieter).
The Monastery is the biggest construction in Petra relationship again to the first Century B.C. (50m excessive and 45m extensive)
Archaeologists suppose it was constructed as a tomb, though the colossal chambers and several other different buildings round it that recommend that it was used for spiritual gatherings. It was most likely used as a church within the Byzantine occasions.
The façade is much less elaborately adorned than the Treasury with no statues in its niches.
Stroll round to get totally different viewpoints. Don’t miss the view staring out from inside a small cave reverse it.
I loved ingesting a freshly squeezed lemon mint juice from the small cave café underneath the shade of a Eucalyptus tree!!
It was the right refreshing break and alternative to stare in awe on the Monastery, benefit from the groundedness that comes with feeling so small, and marvel simply how they carved all of that into the rock.
Are people even able to such dedication, persistence, and elaborate artistry anymore?
NOTE: There are bathrooms which is able to value you 1JD to cowl the price of the water (and labor) as they’ve to hold water in on that lengthy trek the place we simply got here.
Because the stroll from the Treasury to the Monastery is kind of far and strenuous for many guests, will probably be a a lot quieter Petra attraction.
Even should you don’t hike in by way of the backdoor, I like to recommend permitting time in your day to stroll as much as the Monastery from The Treasury (about three hours spherical journey from the Customer Middle in Wadi Musa).
The 1,000 steps
In case you are exploring Petra past the Treasury, you might hear of the 1,000 steps up from the decrease street within the metropolis middle. It’s price it – simply take it gradual.
Excellent news! In case you are taking the again door hike, you’ll largely be taking place them!
It’s a gorgeous stroll with loads of locations to relaxation and soak within the views.
The pathway lined with stalls promoting jewellery, scarves, trinkets, and choices to sit down and take tea collectively. Simply provide a well mannered no.
Our Globus information, Osama instructed us should you place your proper hand over your coronary heart whereas saying no, they’ll perceive you’re really not .
It appeared to work, and I didn’t discover them as insistent or aggressive as I’ve in different nations.
Be looking out for passing donkeys. Should you don’t need to hike all the best way to the Monastery from the Treasury, you’ll be able to experience a donkey. Though studies are blended about how the animals are handled so consider carefully.
A slight detour alongside the steps is just a little temple hidden within the mountains known as the Lion Triclinium. It’s named after the carved lions on either side of the doorway. If it weren’t for our information, we’d have missed this.
You’ll be happy to know on the backside of the steps is the beautiful Basin Restaurant with a gorgeous overhanging willow tree providing loads of shade for a well-deserved relaxation.
That is once you’ll first begin to discover Petra crowds. As we have been touring within the off season (the Jordan Globus Escape tour is designed particularly for them) the crowds weren’t unhealthy in any respect.
I couldn’t think about being right here with the extraordinary warmth and crowds of the height season months.
Fort of the Pharaoh’s Daughter – Qasr Al Bint
Some of the essential Temples in Petra stands on the finish of the Colonnaded Road. Named Qasr Al Bin by the native Bedouin, which implies Fort of the Pharaoh’s Daughter.
It was constructed as a dedication to the Nabataean gods, stood at 23 m excessive, and was elaborately adorned with marble, columns, raised locations for worship, and a big sacrificial altar within the entrance courtyard.
It’s additionally one of many few (albeit crumbling) free-standing buildings in Petra.
We stood on the small hill reverse, taking within the extensive perspective of the temple, Colonnaded Road, and the Nice Temple. Subsequent go to I’ll discover them up shut.
The Nice Temple
The biggest free-standing constructing in Petra is the Nice Temple. Nevertheless, it’s stated to serve the aim of a Royal Reception Corridor and the Romans most likely used it as a civic middle.
The Nice Temple included a 600-seat theater, vaulted rooms beneath, an enormous, paved courtyard and a triple colonnade.
From our all-encompassing perspective you might see how grandiose the complicated should have been. It stood on the bottom and coated an space greater than twice the scale of a soccer area.
The Colonnaded Road
Whether or not you’re coming in from the Treasury, or from the 1,000 steps, you’ll quickly arrive on the Colonnaded Road, the place you’ll begin to see the Roman affect on town.
On one finish is the Fort of the Pharaoh’s Daughter and the opposite is the Royal Tombs carved into the massif.
Abdullah instructed us of the unique space up behind the Nice Temple which as three villas with thirty rooms, every with their very own steam room.
There are a number of eating places and resting locations alongside right here. Seize a pomegranate and orange juice from the distributors and spend time watching the camels and donkeys go up and down this road.
You possibly can nearly think about the hustle and bustle of what would have been one of many historical metropolis’s busiest areas. It was as soon as lined with outlets and columns of marble clad sandstone. It’s estimated 1,000 folks lived on this metropolis middle.
The Royal Tombs
As you proceed strolling alongside the Colonnaded Road in the direction of the Treasury, you’ll discover a set of tomb facades minimize into the cliffs above.
These enormous mausoleums carved into the ‘Jebel Al Khubtha’ are the Royal tombs and illustrate among the finest carvings in Petra.
We have been content material to take a look at them from under and be taught extra from Abdullah about these spectacular burial locations in Petra.
You possibly can climb as much as the highest and discover one other mystic excessive place of Petra.
Close to the Royal Tombs can also be the The ‘Al Khubtha’ path that leads you to what’s stated to be the very best view of the Treasury. It’s 3.5 km / 1.3 mil a technique.
As you’ll be able to inform Petra has plenty of different hikes you are able to do inside the metropolis..
The Road of Facades
After the Colonnaded Road, earlier than you attain the Treasury (or simply after you allow) is the Road of Facades within the Outer Siq. Alongside this road is a set of greater than forty tombs in addition to authorities workplaces at road degree for buying and selling paperwork, taxes and many others.
I beloved the colours and textures of the partitions alongside right here.
We have been in a position to enter one of many caves. There wasn’t a lot to see however it gave an perception into the way it might have been. Huge black smoke stains from the fires made inside are nonetheless seen on the ceilings and partitions.
Carved Roman Theater
Right here is the place you’ll discover the 7,000-seat Theater worn by the passage of time and broken by the earthquake. I want we had time to climb up right here and get the attitude of the Nabateans coming collectively for leisure with their outdoors view of the unbelievable metropolis carved out of the rocky purple panorama.
The one comedic leisure you’ll be able to see now’s that of the vacationers with all their ill-mannered and quirky habits wandering up and down the recent and dusty road under.
There are a set of steps to the left of the theater, which result in the Excessive Place of Sacrifice, a well-preserved sit on prime of Jebel Madhbah.
A well-liked hike in Petra is the 45-minute steep climb as much as this hilltop altar. It’s meant to be among the finest issues to do in Petra for the intrepid explorer! From there you’ll be able to go down the opposite facet of the mountain to see the Backyard Tomb, Roman Troopers, Tomb, and Backyard Triclinium.
The Irrigation System
As Petra obtained little rainfall, the Nabateans developed a sophisticated water administration system, which helped them create a lush backyard in the course of the barren desert, in addition to a sequence of fountains and swimming pools.
From this irrigation system they have been capable of additionally produce wine and olive oil in addition to fruits and different crops.
No marvel Petra was paradise to passing merchants.
And not using a information, it could be troublesome to note the complicated irrigation system. Abdullah shared insights with us about this alongside our whole hike stopping alongside the best way to indicate us storage cisterns, tanks, aqueducts, and water channels and pipes carved into facades and rock faces.
As we walked down the Road of Facades you might see clay pipes operating throughout the cliff faces. They have been rigorously constructed to kind a part of the tomb’s decorations, permitting them to respect the useless whereas operating water by means of town.
It’s best to simply have the ability to discover the water channels and pipes carved into the rock faces as you stroll down the Siq. On the entrance to the Siq on the best as you are available in, you’ll be able to see a Dam with a tunnel minimize by means of the mountain, constructed within the first century BC, to forestall the waters of Wadi Mousa from coming into by means of the Siq.
The Treasury, Al-Khazneh
As quickly as we walked into the Treasury space, the environment turned extra frenetic and chaotic with folks buzzing round in all places attempting to get their photographs or barter with the native Bedouin for the touristy issues.
Women dressed as Arabian princess on camels have been rotated out and in to pose in entrance of the Treasury; children have been entering into arguments with elders over the hiring of animals; golf carts whizzed by with drained vacationers; and camels have been lazing round with their Bedouin masters standing guard and able to persuade the following vacationer to leap aboard.
It was enjoyable to observe, but additionally just a little intense. I missed the quiet serenity of the Monastery.
The Treasury in Petra is among the most historic websites on the planet. It was made well-known partially by Indiana Jones on his quest for the Holy Grail in Petra’s caves. The ultimate scenes of 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Final Campaign have been truly filmed right here.
The Treasury was constructed to function a tomb for the Nabataean King Aretas III (c 100 BCE–CE 200), Nevertheless, its title comes from the story of the Egyptian Pharaoh who hid his treasure within the façade urn whereas pursuing the Israelites.
Look intently and also you’ll see pockmarks within the sandstone urn from these attempting to shoot it down!!
The breathtaking Hellenistic façade of the Treasury stands practically forty meters excessive and twenty 5 meters extensive. It’s richly ornamented with Corinthian pillars, friezes, sculptures, and different particulars.
You might get misplaced for some time finding out and considering the magnificent artisanship of the constructing and the way earth they’d have the enduring persistence to chip away on the rock so meticulously. And all only for somebody’s tomb!!
You possibly can’t go contained in the Treasury, however there’s nothing to see anyway: it’s an empty chamber. Its creators have been way more centered on crafting the skin.
The Treasury is at its most photogenic in full daylight between about 9am and 11am or late within the afternoon, round 5 or 6pm, when the façade is bathed in a mirrored reddish-pink glow from the partitions throughout. We timed it completely for that.
In case you are not mountaineering into Petra by way of the backdoor, your arrival into the Treasury will probably be magical. Don’t race by means of the Siq to hasten your arrival to The Treasury.
That view on the finish of the 1.2km canyon is one thing to savor, however so is the stroll between the slim, curving, vertical partitions of the tunnels because it snakes its means there.
The curving partitions slim as you stroll down the Siq including that additional aspect of drama for the ultimate arrival. You can see that in this reel.
It’s straightforward to suppose that the canyon was carved by the pure circulate of water, however it’s truly a crack within the rock, torn aside by tectonic forces. As we realized already an earthquake was what induced Petra’s eventual demise.
This was a sacred place for the Nabatean pilgrims as they started their non secular journey into what they regarded as their Holy Metropolis. Alongside the canyon you’ll be able to see many wall niches that when held figures of their Gods, giving the pilgrims a glimpse of what was to come back.
There’s a lot to see alongside the Siq so take your time.
Some elements of the pathway would be the worn patches of the Roman/Nabatean street which initially paved the Siq alongside its whole size.
You possibly can see the unique water channels minimize into the partitions in some locations they cross behind what you’ll be able to inform would have been an elaborate carving of a camel and a caravan man on the wall.
Between the Petra Customer Centre and the doorway to the Siq, there’s the Obelisk Tomb, a tomb with 4 pyramidal obelisks, constructed as funerary symbols by the Nabataeans within the 1st century BC.
There are additionally three monumental, squat monuments, often known as Djinn Blocks or God Blocks. Nobody actually is aware of their goal however it’s thought to both signify the beginning of tombs, be related to funerary dedications, or used for the worship of water and fertility.
And should you do arrive at Petra by way of the backdoor hike, I like to recommend you stroll out by means of the Siq a good distance after which flip round and stroll again so you’ll be able to expertise that chic introduction to this historical metropolis.
It takes about 20-Half-hour simply to stroll down the 1.2km Siq to succeed in the Treasury.
Petra By Night time
In case your daytime adventures in Petra aren’t sufficient, you’ll be able to stroll again in to expertise Petra by Night time (an additional charge of 17 JOD).
Despite the fact that our legs protested, it was enjoyable strolling down a dimly lit Siq underneath the starry sky to reach on the Treasury.
Candles have been evenly spaced on the desert floor in entrance of the shadowy define of the Treasury.
A desert dweller stood amongst the candles enjoying a Jordanian tune on a flute, bringing concord to the quiet, darkish stillness. After a little bit of storytelling about Petra and the Nabateans, coloured lights illuminated the Treasury.
I took this second to fully neglect all my images abilities and never flip up my ISO to seize the gorgeous Petra by night time. At the very least I bought the 1000’s of candles in entrance okay!
Whereas it was just a little kitsch, it was nonetheless price it for this extra eerie Treasury expertise and to get pleasure from strolling alongside the canyon at night time.
How Lengthy will you want in Petra?
Petra is a lot greater than the Treasury. Throw in your T-Shirt, shorts, and mountaineering footwear and discover it in depth.
You’ll undoubtedly want at the very least a full day to discover Petra.
We spent 9 hours and it wasn’t wherever close to sufficient time!
If you will do the backdoor hike into Petra, plan on spending two days in Petra. There’s a lot to see and do, and we missed a variety of the factors of curiosity alongside the best way.
I might spend at some point mountaineering into Petra and discover the decrease ranges. The hike could be tiring – particularly if it’s sizzling. You’ll additionally need to spend time absorbing the great thing about the Monastery and the Treasury.
For the second day, I might come again in to discover the higher ranges and the extra hikes and sights talked about above which we didn’t get time to do.
You may additionally need to discover Little Petra, which I consider warrants a number of hours. After which why not spend time resting within the city of Wadi Musa?
Three days in Petra can be an incredible size of time. I do beseech that you just spend longer than a fast “I used to be right here photograph” in entrance of the Treasury in Petra. An abundance of riches lies just a little additional down the trail.
Wadi Musa is the city on the doorsteps of the Historical Metropolis of Petra. It’s also called Petra so it could possibly get complicated. Right here you’ll discover resorts to swimsuit all forms of vacationers and budgets. You’ll additionally discover loads of eating places and memento outlets within the city.
We had an incredible dinner with a Jordanian household of their residence in Petra. Click here to read more of that.
The place to remain in Petra?
We stayed on the Movenpick Resort Petra, a five-star resort throughout the street from the Petra Customer Middle. You couldn’t get any nearer!
It was a gorgeous resort with comfy rooms, and nice facilities which included bars and eating places. Their buffet breakfasts and dinner have been nice.
I beloved the inside design of this Petra resort full of Center Japanese materials, marble flooring, handcrafted wooden, embroidered chairs and water fountains.
Sadly, given the time of 12 months we visited the rooftop terrace was not open. The rooftop has wonderful views and stay music at sundown. It was really helpful to me by a trusted buddy.
The right way to get to Petra
Petra is only a brief stroll away from the middle of Wadi Musa. Some resorts might provide shuttles, else you could have taxis.
Petra is about 236km/ 3 hours from Amman, the capital of Jordan by way of the Desert Freeway. Many prefer to arrive by means of the extra scenic and traditionally important, Kings Freeway – 255km / 4 hours. (Check rental cars from Amman here)
Should you like comfort and have much less time, becoming a member of a tour could also be one of the simplest ways. Our Jordan Escape Globus tour of Jordan took care of the whole lot, together with resort keep, transport, most meals, wonderful experiences, and informative information. All I needed to do was arrive on the scheduled time and luxuriate in myself. You can read more about my tour experience with them here.
How a lot does Petra Price?
A one-day ticket prices 50JOD, however you may get higher worth with a two-day ticket for 55 JOD and three-day ticket for 60 JOD. Youngsters underneath 12 are free. All the time verify present costs as it could change.
Many vacationers really helpful the Jordan Pass, which incorporates entry to Petra and different websites in Jordan like Jerash, Amman, Citadel, and Wadi Rum. As our entry tickets have been a part of our Globus tour, I didn’t want to fret about this.
Petra Customer Middle and Petra Museum
You will get your tickets on the customer middle in Wadi Musa on the entrance to Petra. You can too rent guides and choose up some Petra maps.
Right here is the place you’ll additionally discover the not too long ago opened Petra Museum, which homes artifacts from the misplaced metropolis of Petra. The free museum options eight galleries with 300 displays that have been excavated from numerous archaeological websites in Petra. We didn’t get time to go to.
When is the very best time to go to Petra, Jordan?
One of the best time to go to Jordan is throughout the Spring and Autumn months, which in Jordan is March, April and Might or September, October and November. Common excessive temperatures are from 19°C–28°C (66–82°F).
Winter will probably be chilly with common temperatures 2–13°C (36–55°F). Because it’s the desert you gained’t see an excessive amount of rain however it’s extra prone to occur within the winter months.
We visited in late February and have been so fortunate to have a heat 70 winter’s day. That desert solar beat down so fiercely that these temperatures felt unusually sizzling. I couldn’t think about attempting to discover Petra – particularly that hike – throughout the peak of summer season.
In case you are visiting in the summertime months of June – August count on excessive desert temperatures. Go early to keep away from the most popular a part of the day and make the most of the little shade, you’ll discover.
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Remark: Do you could have any suggestions for visiting Petra? Please go away any questions or tales under!