Exploring the Lost City
The ruins of Petra, also known as the rose-red city, are a fantastic sight in the desolate deserts of Jordan. No one knows exactly when the city was built, but they do know it began to prosper in the 1st century BC as the capital of the Nabatean Empire.
Later annexed into the Roman Empire, the popular trade city thrived until a massive earthquake and new trade routes left the city abandoned by the 7th century. The rose-red city was then lost for centuries, to all but the local Bedouin.
Petra was only rediscovered in 1812 when Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, posing as an Arab to gain access, visited the city and made it popular through his recounts. Nowadays it is one of the most popular sights in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Entering Petra is an adventure on its own. Start by taking a horse ride or a carriage to As Siq, a narrow gorge that leads to the city. The 1,2km passageway is lined with high walls of pink stone on each side, making the walk towards the city a very surreal experience.
The Treasury or Al-Khazneh is surely the best-known sight in Petra, made famous in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Harrison Ford and Sean Connery rode horses through the As Siq and arrived at the front of the Treasury.
Petra Beyond the Treasury
There is much more to Petra than the Treasury, though. Venturing further into the city you’ll find countless wonderful sights such as an amfitheater fitting 4000 people, several lavish tombs and small houses, all built into solid stone.
The Street of Facades gives you a chance to actually visit the former homes of the Nabataeans
The Royal Tombs require a bit of a climb but are definitely worth it
Goats roaming the hills in Petra
Petra is a hiking paradise
Petra is a truly magnificent experience, giving visitors a true feeling of being surrounded by living history. The city may have been abandoned by its people and lost for centuries, but it is still easy to imagine how life in the city was all those centuries ago. In my mind it might not have been all that different from today.