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"Petra: A rock cut past"

Petra Tourism

Petra is an archaeological city in southern Jordan, located amidst rugged canyons and mountains. Constructed in pre-historic times, Petra's distinctiveness lies in being half built and half carved into red, white, pink and sandstone cliffs. The red colour of the stone has led to Petra being referred to as the Rose City. Petra is also recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and is the most popular tourist destination in Jordan. It is a significant historical and cultural site and has even been named a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

A city like no other, whose praises are mentioned throughout history, Petra is among the most visually stunning archaeological sites in the world. Believed to have been established as early as 312 BC, Petra later came under Roman rule. Masters of technology, the Nabataeans constructed a fully functional water system for the city. Famous for being half-carved into the mountain, Petra makes for a truly unique sight. The city contains marvels such as the narrow yet long Siq, the Treasury, the Temple of Winged Lions, the Great Temple and even a dam. It is a city for enthusiasts of history and marvellous architecture. Petra is also famous as the city where the popular Hollywood movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was shot in 1989.

The approach to Petra is through the Siq, which is narrow in some places. Just before the end of the Siq, there is a split in the rock, which provides an unforgettable view of the Monastery. Petra lies in a line from Wadi Musa town, and the visitors follow the trail into Siq, Treasury, Royal Tombs and Roman Ruins. Those with time or staying for another day continue to the Monastery. A must-have experience here is Petra by Night, where three nights a week, the area around the Siq and the Treasury is lit by 1500 candles and looks magical.

Entry to Petra is only allowed to visitors with valid tickets. The tickets vary for one-day visitors to Jordan (those who visit Jordan from some other country and don't stay overnight) or multi-day visitors. These tickets are available at the Visitor Centre and can be purchased online before arrival. Licensed tour guides can also be booked from the Visitor Center for JD 50 to JD 100. The best time to visit Petra is early morning or late afternoon, so start early.

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Must Know Before You Visit Petra

  • Winter Timings: 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Summer Timings: 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Entry Fees for visitors staying at least 1 night in Jordan: 1 Day-JD 50, 2 Days-JD 55, 3 Days-JD 60
  • Entry Fees for visitors who visit Petra on the first day of arrival from the border:  JD 90 - JD 40 = JD 50
  • Entry Fees for day visitors to Jordan: JD 90
  • Children under 12 years have free entry
  • Petra by Night: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 8:30 PM. Ticket is JD 17 and free for children below 12 years
  • Food: There is only 1 restaurant in Petra, located at the end of the Roman Highway. There are some small vendors and stalls for snacks throughout the site
  • Jordan Pass: Access to 30 attractions in Jordan, including Petra, Wadi Rum and Jerash. 1 Day Pass- JD 70, 2 Day Pass- JD 75, 3 Day Pass- JD 80
  • Carry your passport to prove your entry into Jordan
  • Transport within Petra: The only transport allowed inside Petra is camel, horse and donkey.
    -Entrance to Siq: Foot or horse
    -Siq to Treasury: Foot or cart
    -Treasury to Monastery stairs: Foot, donkey or camel
    -800 stairs to the Monastery: Foot or donkey
  • The prices for the donkey, camel or horses are not set and are extremely negotiable. The approx price is JD 15 per hour.
  • If you are reasonably fit, exploring Petra on foot is recommended
  • Reach the Monastery before 3:00 PM, otherwise, most of it will be in the shadows
  • You can stay in Wadi Musa to experience sunrise and sunset in Petra. Taxis are available from Wadi Musa to Petra for JD5. There is a free car park opposite Petra bus stop
  • Washrooms are available along the entire main trail of Petra. However, you may not find one while trekking
  • If visiting Petra for 1 day, focus on the main highlights - Siq, Treasury, the Amphitheatre, Colonnaded Street, Qasr al-Bint and Royal Tombs. 
  • If staying in Petra for a night, experience Petra by Night and Monastery.
  • Since much walking is involved, wear comfortable sports shoes or trainers.

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Currency in Petra

The currency of Jordan is the Jordanian dinar. You can use American Dollars in Petra, but it is advisable to also have dinars with you. There are ATMs in Wadi Musa as well. Credit cards are accepted in most major hotels and restaurants, but many places take cash only, so it is advisable to carry cash with you. Of course, the stalls and vendors in Petra take only cash.

Exchanging Money in Petra

There are ATMs and banks in Wadi Musa, where you can exchange most currencies to Jordanian dinars

Language of Petra

The most common languages in Petra/Wadi Musa are Arabic and English

History of Petra

Petra is thought to have been constructed in 312 BC, and it was a settlement primarily inhabited by an ancient people called Nabateans. It had a spate of rulers, and fell under Roman rule in 105 A.D. Petra was abandoned at the end of the 7th century, and some of its castles were destroyed at the end of the 11th century. It was then a 'lost city' till it was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer in 1812.

Nightlife in Petra

Petra has the option of taking tours at night, but these only include a walk to and from The Treasury. However, it is a magnificent sight to behold as it is lit with over 1500 candles.

Shopping in Petra

Petra and Wadi Musa have several shops and stalls from where you can buy souveniers and Petra themed merchandise.

Best Time to Visit Petra

How to Reach Petra

How to Reach Overview

To enter Petra, you must first go to the nearest town, Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses), and buy tickets from the visitorsê centre. The site itself is two kilometres from the visitorês centre, and you enter Petra from a rocky package with high walls called the Siq _ you can either do this on foot, or hire horses from the visitors centre.

How to reach Petra by flight

Queen Alia International Airport at Zizya, 30 kilometres from Jordanês capital Amman, and King Hussein International Airport at Aqaba are the two airports in Jordan. Regular flights are available from international airports such as New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Kochi, Kolkata, Jaipur to Amman and Aqaba as well. Air Arabia, Oman Air, Gulf Air, Kuwait Airways, Jet Airways, Etihad Airways, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Arabia, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Air India, Egypt Air fly from India to Jordan. If coming from Israel, flights from India mostly land at Tel Aviv Yafo in Tel Aviv. Connecting flights are available to Eilat.

How to reach Petra by road

Taxis are available from both cities to Petra. The white painted service taxis ply on fixed routes and can be shared. Private taxis are painted yellow and can be hailed on the street or near hotels. Car rentals are available and details are provided on the Jordanian Embassy website. If coming from Israel, the best option is to cross at the South Israeli Arava Border near Eilat. It takes about one hour twenty minutes to get from Eilat airport in Israel to the border (including the crossing of the border) and two hours to drive from the border to Petra. Visa to Jordan is not given at the borders and have to be obtained prior to reaching the border. Border taxes have to be paid on crossing the border. One can enter from Syria and Egypt by road as well.

How to reach Petra by train

None

How to reach Petra by bus

Air-conditioned JETT (Jordan Express Tourist Transportation Company) buses are available daily from Amman to Petra in the morning and they return in the evening. It takes about 3 hours each way. Online reservations can be made in advance at their website http://www.jett.com.jo/Default.aspx. In addition, public buses are available from Mujamaa Janobi Station to Wadi Musa daily from 09.00 to 13.00 hours and return between 06.00 hours to 13.00hours to Amman. Public buses are available from Aqaba to Petra from the bus station next to Aqaba Police Station. These take about two hours. Though there are no fixed timings, buses are available from 06.00 hours onwards.

How to reach Petra by waterways

None

Local transport in Petra

The most common way to get around in Petra is on foot. However, you can also hire donkeys or horses to ride on.

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Petra Photos

Petra, Jordan
Petra at night
The narrow passage (Siq) that leads to Petra

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FAQs on Petra

What is the best time to visit Petra?

Spring months of March-May and autumn months of September-November is undoubtedly the best time to visit Petra. These months are cooler, comparatively, and also the best one for touring out and exploring some of the iconic sites in and around Jordan. During summers, Petra is stifling hot and dry, with temperatures rising above 36°C often! Jordan experiences all four seasons of winter, summer, spring and autumn. It’s also considered to be one of the year-round destinations for travellers worldwide. The diverse landscape and the magnificent locales are really worth visiting once in a lifetime. For visiting Petra, the best time during the day would be early morning, around sunrise, at 5 am. It’s the best way to avoid the crowd as well. However, if you aren’t a morning person, plan your visit to Petra at 3 o’clock in the evening and stay there till the sunset. The midday light makes the rocks glow in a ruby colour.
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What is the local food in Petra?

Eating options include both international and local Bedouin cuisine available both in budget and elegant restaurants. The local cuisine is elaborate with a focus on grain, cheese, yogurt, vegetables, and poultry. Vegetarian options are available though the main courses are primarily non-vegetarian. Meals often start with Mezze, an appetizer including hummus (chick peas boiled and blended with tahini paste, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice), Kubbeh (minced meat with herbs covered with crushed wheat and fried), Falafel (fried balls of chickpea flour with spices), salads such as Fattoush, and Araêyes (mincemeat filled oven baked flatbread sandwich). A very popular main dish, considered the national dish, is Mansaf _ rice, lamb and rehydrated yogurt. It is eaten on special occasions, weddings, and festivals. Other main dishes include Fatet Batinjan (Labaneh, roasted eggplant, and minced meat), Galayet Bandora (tomato based), Suniyat Dijaj (chicken baked with tomatoes, potatoes, and onions), Zarb (meat and vegetables cooked in underground pit), Makloubeh (casserole of layers of meat, rice, and vegetables) and kofta in tahini sauce. These are served with breads such as Kubz (like pita), Shrak (thin bread baked on a griddle) and Abud (dense bread).Traditional sweets include Kanfeh (gooey white cheese base with semolina and covered in sweet syrup), Halawa (sweetened tahini sesame paste with dry fruits), Harisa (semolina based cake in sweet syrup). Oriental sweets as Baklawa, Mabrumeh, and Asabea are also popular. Tea (shy) ranging from black to herbal is widely available and popular. Coffee (gahweh) is either Turkish variety (cardamom flavoured) or Arabic (greenish liquid). Alcohol is available in larger hotels and upmarket restaurants.
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What is the best way to reach Petra?

To enter Petra, you must first go to the nearest town, Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses), and buy tickets from the visitorsê centre. The site itself is two kilometres from the visitorês centre, and you enter Petra from a rocky package with high walls called the Siq _ you can either do this on foot, or hire horses from the visitors centre.
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What are the top hotels in Petra?

There are 150 in Petra which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Petra are Petra Deluxe HB&B, The Siq House, Petra Princess Balqees Hostel, wonderful friends house, Milky Way Lodges, Petra Boxtel Hostel. You can see all the hotels in Petra here

What are the places near Petra?

The top places near to Petra are Aqaba which is 98 km from Petra, Amman which is located 185 km from Petra, Jerusalem which is located 161 km from Petra, Beirut which is located 396 km from Petra, Tel aviv which is located 205 km from Petra

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