Aqaba (for Petra), Jordan
The port of Aqaba has been an important strategic and commercial center for over three millennia. Originally called Elath, the home of the Edomites became in Roman times a trading center where goods from as far away as China found entry to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
Today Aqaba is Jordan’s only seaport, and the city serves as an intriguing gateway for travelers. In the surrounding desert lies the lost city of Petra- a city that may date to 6,000 B.C. – and Wadi Rum, where an English soldier mystic named T.E. Lawrence found his destiny as “Lawrence of Arabia.”
Perched at the apex of the Gulf of Aqaba, Aqaba offers internationally renowned diving opportunities and the richest marine life in the entire Red Sea. The old fortress on the waterfront dates to the 14th-century. Passengers should drink only bottled water while ashore. Please respect local customs and dress accordingly, avoiding exposed shoulders and knees.
Petra, the “Lost City” and former capital of the Nabataean Kingdom, is Jordan’s crowning jewel of tourist attractions. Once an important trading city with a population of 20,000–30,000 people, the settlement was later abandoned and remained uninhabited for five centuries.
After it was rediscovered in 1812, Petra has later declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Today, there’s nothing on Earth quite like this beautiful, ancient city that defies logic and exceeds expectations.
Here is all the info you need to visit Petra at a glance.
- Location: The only public entrance is through the Petra Visitor’s Center in Wadi Musa, Jordan
- Hours: 6:00 am to 6:00 pm during the summer and 6:00 am to 4:00 pm in the winter
- Cost: From 50 JOD ($70 USD)
- Reservations: None required
- Area: 102 square miles (264 square km)
I had another excursion but this time in Jordan. We visited Petra, an amazing and gorgeous place.
A lot of people know it because it’s where Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed. I saw this amazing structure up close as well as many surrounding tombs carved into the stone.
I did this Tour: Petra – The Lost City AQJ-100 Approximately 10 hours
A truly amazing day awaits, featuring a guided exploration on the foot of the ancient city of Petra, where you will learn more about the culture and people of this fascinating region. Petra was chosen by the BBC as one of ‘the 40 places you have to see before you die’, and your journey starts with a picturesque two-hour drive through Aqaba, to the Jordan desert. There will be one rest stop along the way but you are encouraged to relax as you soak up the dramatic scenery.
Your walking tour starts just outside Petra and covers approx 5-7 miles, so wear comfortable walking shoes and make sure you have plenty of sunscreens and a long-sleeved top to cover up if necessary. Your guide will lead you through a narrow gorge called the ‘Siq, a stunning natural canyon that winds through the towering rock toward the city. Here, you will see water channels, carvings, and representations of ancient gods carved into the rock. The ancient city of Petra is a Nabataean capital carved in vivid red sandstone and boasts numerous monuments including tombs, theaters, obelisks, high places, temples, and churches.
Make sure you have your camera to hand as you view the Khazneh, the ‘Treasury’, which is an ancient tomb carved into the cliff face. Local legend suggests that treasure was hidden in the urn at the top, and bullet marks pepper the cliff face, as evidence of treasure seekers trying their luck.
You will then view the 3,000-seater Roman Theater, which was in fact built by the Nabataean in the 2nd century, followed by the Royal Tombs, which are carved into the face of Jebel Khubtha, a sandstone mountain. The Royal Tombs consist of the Urn tomb, the Corinthian tomb, and the three-storied Palace tomb.
This walking tour is thirsty work and you are advised to carry water with you at all times. However, lunch is a relaxed buffet affair served at a nearby restaurant located in the upper area of Petra.
After lunch, you will have free time to browse for gifts before boarding the bus for the scenic journey back to Aqaba.