After a vote of 100 million people in 2007, Petra was named one of the seven wonders of the world. Petra Jordan is an archaeological city in the south of the country. It is located on the slope of the Jabal Al-Maddah mountain. It was founded in the 4th century BC and was a capital during the dynasty of King Nabataean. The Nabataeans were the builders of this place. It was named after Greek merchants and was one of the most important silk and spice trade routes with Syria, Egypt, Arabia and Rome. In fact, Petra is the crossing of the Siq Gorge. The total walk from town is about 10 miles and takes a few hours to walk through once you get there. The particularity of this gorge is the 18 different colors of stones that make the landscape spectacular.
- The people of Petra
All Arabs who live as nomads and travel through the mountains are called Bedouins. Today there are no real Bedouins because everyone has been influenced by the modern way of life which allows us to use technology. However, there are people who live in the bare mountains and live in tents that they have built themselves. They are kind of modern Bedouins and it is really exciting to meet them. They are very friendly and independent. Their income is based on tourism. They own the cafeterias, exchange souvenirs and works of art and offer walks in the gorges. Therefore, they maintain good relations with tourists and are very friendly with foreigners; don’t be surprised if they invite you to join them for the launch.
- How to walk around Petra
The fee to enter the monument is 50 JOD or about $70. If you decide to take the 2-day ticket, it will only cost you an additional 5 JOD. There are tickets for one, two, three or seven days. There are two entrances to visit Petra. One is the main entrance that the majority of visitors use and the other is on the other side. If you’re only there for a day, it’s best to use the main entrance. If you plan to come back, you can also try the other entree. If you start from behind you will have a 2 hour walk through quite a rocky landscape before reaching the famous monastery which is a unique and huge temple carved out of a giant rock. This is the first important sight you will see on your way. However, keep in mind that you still have 10 miles to walk out of the main entrance. It is therefore ideal to be guided by a local guide in this first part on horseback or on the back of a donkey to the Monastery. On your way to the monastery, you will see a few small cafeterias that offer tea, coffee and drinks; nothing fancy just a short break from the tiring journey.
- Shopping in Petra
Everywhere you will see traders having their products ready for sale. They are surely overpriced and expect you to bargain before buying anything. In fact, it’s a process they appreciate whether you can afford to buy their products or not, so don’t hesitate to talk to them and ask for a better price. The locals here can be very pushy, so you’ll have to get used to saying no.
- Guides and walks
Of course, you can go with a tourist guide who will help you understand the history of the place. If you are only there for a day, it is better to go alone because beyond the historical aspect, Petra is a place of extreme beauty and perhaps you want to enjoy it alone. The gorge is breathtaking. You will see yourself walking down a narrow path and huge stones right next to you, providing shade and making you feel small. Along the way there are people telling you to go for a ride with their camel and it’s a fun experience to be honest. Still, there have been reported incidents of animals being mistreated, so if you notice anything out of the ordinary, be sure to report it to local authorities. There are policemen in the gorge and you can use their help for such incidents. Finally, keep in mind that a small horseback ride of about 800m at the start of the ride is included in your ticket. Horse owners will ask you to ride, telling you that it is included in the ticket. Of course, they expect you to give them a small tip of around 5 JOD. Either way, Petra is a beautiful place and worth visiting once in a lifetime.
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