A Djin block – purpose unknown – on the approach to Petra’s entrance gorge, Bab Al Siq, from the Visitor Centre. This is the only entrance to Petra, broad at this point but narrowing down quickly into the Siq gorge. On the left is the shadowed Obelisk tomb and Triclinium, best seen on your way back when they are lit up by the western sun.
How to best explore Petra
Make a very early start to take advantage of the cool air and reduce the numbers of tourists trundling beside you down the Siq; wear serious walking footwear and carry water, sun cream, hat, camera and possibly a packed lunch in a good backpack.
Even better, do two or three nights in the hotel and two days hiking the rocks, one day hitting the regular sights (Treasury, Facades Street, Amphitheatre, Royal Tombs, Roman Highway, Al Deir)and the second exploring the less touristy, out-of-the-way places, such as the back route from the High Place of Sacrifice.
Perhaps the world’s best entrance to a developed ancient site, Petra’s Al Siq, 1km long and only 3m (10ft) wide in places.
Don’t even consider a horse- buggy unless walking is a problem as the ancient, spooky ambience of this sombre and serpentine gorge should be absorbed at a comfortable and meditative pace. And if you have to, let the tourist herds gallop by!
Inevitably this is a busy tourist site so to optimise your experience stay in Wadi Musa and head into the site at close to 6. 0am or 6. 30am opening time, depending on the season. That way you’ll get a jump on the herds arriving by bus and have a much more impressive initial experience.
Once the Siq and the Treasury have been seen Petra opens out and tourists spread out so the impact of the huddled masses is felt less.
A first glimpse of the Treasury from the Siq, though many have already seen it courtesy of Steven Spielberg’s Indian Jones and the Last Crusade movie in 1989.
The Treasury, El Khazneh, small but perfectly formed and the first of Petra’s ancient rock structures inside the geological basin.