More Photos of Petra, Jordan

Camels sitting on The Roman Highway, Petra, Jordan

The Roman Highway looking towards the Royal Tombs of Petra. Photo by Jakob Pfeiffer.

Inside Petra there is only one restaurant – that is of course expensive – but sells the only beer on site and trust us, a cold beer on a hot afternoon in Petra is a must-savour. The restaurant is at the end of the Roman Highway. There are, however, various food and drink stalls around that don’t sell alcohol.

Great Temple of Petra

Great Temple of Petra, Jordan

Great Temple of Petra. Photo by Bernard Gagnon.

This large Nabataean temple was originally 18m (54ft) high and lined with red and white stucco but was damaged by an earthquake shortly after it was finished. It’s still impressive but in Roman style, not in our favourite melting rock effect.

Obelisk Tomb

Obelisk Tomb and Triclinium. Photo by Bernard Gagnon.

Often missed by visitors because the tomb is before the Siq, on the left near the entrance, this tomb is faced with four obelisks, built as funerary monuments to the Nabataeans buried inside. The obelisk tomb was built on top of an earlier structure known as a triclinium (a ritual dining room) where annual feasts were held to commemorate the dead. This tomb is best seen at sunset on the way back to your hotel when the colours are rich and the shadows deep.

Hadrian’s gate

Hadrian’s Gate. Photo by Jean Housen.

Al Deir

Petra's largest and most distant monument, Al Deir, also known as the Monastery, Petra. Jordan.

Petra’s largest and most distant monument, Al Deir, also known as the Monastery (it was used by Christians at some point); it still lacks an interior of interest. Note the local guy standing right on the top.

Right at the opposite end of Petra to the Siq entrance, Al Deir will require some dedication to reach as the 800 steps up to this spot are a hot and tiresome business after already hours of rocky walking in the sun; donkeys come in handy for this stretch. Note the Jordanian fooling around on the urn at top. Fatalism rules, OK!

Christian Mosaic

A Byzantine Christian mosaic, Petra, Jordan

A Byzantine Christian mosaic only discovered in 1990. Photo by Jean Housen.

Three Christian Byzantine churches were discovered in Petra as late as 1990. They were originally adorned with fine mosaics on both walls and floors around the 5th century AD, though only the floor art has survived until now.

Petra Map

Petra Map, Jordan

Petra Map original by H. Behr. Jordan Map

Petra tours are usually combined with the nearby and naturally awesome Wadi Rum, one-time home to the real Lawrence of Arabia and still hosting magnificent sand dunes dotted with vast melting pink and yellow rocks. Wadi Rum makes a sensational desert safari, whether by camel, horse, foot or 4WD jeep.

Another couple of worthwhile but hardly vital sights included in many Jordan tours are the Dead Sea and the Roman ruins of Jerash.
Amman, the capital city, or Aqaba, the port area of Jordan? No thanks mate, though there are a handful of Red Sea beach resorts offering fair beaches (at a price), some marine activities such as wind surfing and jet boating but most of all terrific snorkelling or diving.

Petra's Bedouin guards heading off home.

Petra’s Bedouin guards heading off home after a day’s work.

Petra Poem

John William Burgon’s Petra, written in 1845.

It seems no work of Man’s creative hand,
by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;
But from the rock as if by magic grown,
eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!
Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,
where erst Athena held her rites divine;
Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,
that crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;
But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,
that first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;
The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,
match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
a rose-red city half as old as time.

Souvenir from Petra, multi-coloured sands in tiny bottles. Jordan

A great souvenir from Petra, multi-coloured sands cunningly mixed into tiny bottles.