Petra in Pictures
Petra – A “lost city” of the ancient world, only known to the Bedouin, who fiercely protected it from outsiders, until the young Swiss explorer, Jean Louis Burckhardt, in 1812, at age 27, visited it disguised as a Muslim. After moving to Aleppo in 1809, he converted to Islam and took the name Sheikh Ibrahim bin Abdullah. It is here that he became a master of disguise, not only by becoming fluent in Arabic, but also adopting local customs.
This place is very interesting for its antiquities and the remains of an ancient city, which I conjecture to be Petra, the capital of Arbia Peetraea, a place which, as far as I know, no European traveller has ever visited.
Siq – The narrow chasm, towering 200 metres high, and created by tectonic forces that for 1.2 kilometres creates a sense of anticipation and excitement within the heart of every visitor walking through it towards the “rose red city”, and that first coveted glimpse of The Treasury.
The Treasury or Al Khazneh – The quintessential image of Petra and tomb of the Nabataean King Aretas III (c 100BC – 200AD). It is here in the shadows of the expertly carved rock façade, towering 43 metres high, where most visitors fall in love with this ancient city strewn over a vast area of mountains and wadis.
A public bathroom – Near the Basin Restaurant, where I wash the sweat and grime off my hands after a long hike, the veiled Bedouin caretaker breaks a plump purple fig in half. The juicy red flesh forms a stark contrast with her brown work-worn hand. It is sweet in my mouth. Our eyes touch and smile, as she gently lifts her veil to eat her half.
A donkey – The young Bdoul Bedouin boy rides past me on his donkey, and promptly enquires if I need one? “No thank you!” I quickly respond. “I am scared of donkeys, camels and horses.” Without missing a beat his cheeky grin widens. “What about a mule?”
An old Bedouin woman – We sit side by side slurping hot mint tea. The weathered sandstone landscape feels ancient and immense, as I try to capture it with my eyes. She sighs, and points to the dusty array of merchandise in her stall. They look as primordial as the rocks soaring above us. “There are not many tourists. Life is hard.”
Visited: August 2015
Entrance Fees: A 1 day pass cost JD50, a 2 day pass JD55, and a 3 day pass JD60
General information: Jordan in general, and Petra in particular is expensive. Pack a snack/food and water, unless you are prepared to pay the exorbitant prices that are charged inside. Wear sensible shoes and clothing that is suited to hiking, and make sure you wear sunscreen and a hat.
For more information, including the services of an official guide, visit the official website.