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The ancient city of Petra was built from 800 BC to 100 AD by the Nabetean Arabs. In this era Petra was a fortress, carved out of craggy rocks in an area which was virtually inaccessible. In the first and second century, after the Romans took over, the city reached the peak of its fame.

When caravan routes were slowly displaced by shipping, the city's importance gradually dwindled; it fell into disuse and was lost to the world until 1812, when it was re-discovered by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Nowadays Petra is Jordan's number 1 tourist attraction, known as the "rose red city half as old as time".

First sight of al Khazneh

Al Khazneh

The entrance to Petra leads through the Siq, a gorge about 2 kms long. At some points the path is only 5 meters wide, with walls 200 meters high.

At the end the spectacular sight of the Khazneh awaits you, if at least the view isn't blocked by tourist taking pictures.

The Khazneh (the treasury) starred in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. We practiced the right way to get inside: duck when the spiderwebs move, do NOT step onto the letter 'J' because in Greek the name of God starts with an 'I' and at last step into nothing (there should be a secret bridge). It's needless to say the real interior is a little disappointing.

If you stand with your back to the Khazneh, you can see the entrance to the Siq and souvenir stands selling postcards, sand bottles, 'keffiyehs', softdrinks (no matter what flavour always called Pepsi), jewelry and much more.

And ... there are LOTS of tourists.

The entrance to the Siq

Ideal for walking

But ... if you walk a little further it gets quiet until at a certain point you realize you're alone.

Petra covers an area of about 100 square km, where over 800 monuments can be found.

Conclusion: a visit of 1 day is not enough. Better plan 2 or 3 days.

The largest of the temples in Petra is ed Deir, the Monastery. It measures 60 by 45 meters. This enormous size becomes clear when you compare the size of the doorway with the people standing in it.

You can also see two men on top of it.

Ed Deir is the largest temple

Stairway to the High Places

A rock in Petra

These stairways took us to the High Places of Sacrifice. The view from up there is astonishing.

Petra means rock, they say. Maybe they mean this one.

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