After a vote of 100 million people in 2007 Petra has been characterized as one of the seven wonders of the world. Petra Jordan is an archaeological city south of the country. It is located on the slope of the mountain Jabal Al-Maddah. It was founded in the 4th century B.C. and was a capital during the dynasty of King Nabataean. The Nabataeans have been the builders of this place. It was named after Greek merchants and was one of the most important silk and spice trade routes with Syria, Egypt, Arabia, and Rome. Actually, Petra is the crossing of the Siq gorge. The total walk of the city is approximately 10 miles and takes a few hours to walk through it once you are there. The special feature of this gorge is the 18 different colors of stones that make the scenery spectacular.
- The locals in Petra
All Arabs that live like nomads and travel through the mountains are called Bedouins. Today, there are no real Bedouins since everyone has been influenced by the modern lifestyle that allows us to make use of technology. However, there are people who live in the bare mountains out there and live in tents they have built on their own. They are a kind of modern Bedouins and it is really exciting to meet them. They are very friendly and self-sufficient. Their income is based on tourism. They own the cafeterias, they trade souvenirs, and pieces of art, and they offer rides through the gorge. Therefore, they have good relationships with tourists and are very warm with strangers; don’t be surprised if they invite you to join them for launch.
- How to wander through Petra
The fee to enter the monument is 50 JOD which is about 70$. If you decide to take the 2-day ticket it will only cost another 5 JOD. There are tickets for one, two, three, or seven days. There are two entrances to visit Petra. The one is the main entrance that the majority of the visitors use and the other one is on the other side. If you are there for only one day it is better to use the main entrance. If you are planning to visit again you can try the other entrance as well. If you go from behind you will have a 2-hour walk through quite rocky scenery before you reach the famous Monastery which is a unique and huge temple carved on a giant rock. This is the first important sight you will see on your way. However, keep in mind that you have another 10 miles to walk and get out from the main entrance. It is, therefore, ideal to let a local guide take you through this first part with a horse or a donkey until the Monastery. On your way to the Monastery you will see some small cafeterias that offer tea, coffee, and beverages; nothing fancy just a small break from the tiring trip.
- Shopping in Petra
All across the place, you will see traders having their products ready for sale. They are surely overpriced and expect you to negotiate before you buy anything. In fact, this is a process they enjoy regardless of whether you can afford to buy their stuff or not so don’t hesitate to talk to them and ask for a better price. Locals here can be very pushy, so you will have to get used to saying no.
- Guides and rides
Of course, you can go with a tourist guide who will help you understand the history of the place. If you are there for just one day it is preferable to go on your own because apart from the historical aspect, Petra is a place of extreme beauty and perhaps you want to enjoy it alone. The gorge is breathtaking. You will see yourself walking through a narrow path and huge stones right next to you providing shadow and making you feel small. All along the way, there are people who will tell you to go for a ride with their camel and it is a fun experience, to be honest. Still, there have been reported incidents where animals were mistreated, so if you notice anything weird be sure to report it to the local authorities. There are policemen in the gorge and you can use their help for such incidents. Finally, keep in mind that a small rife with a horse for about 0,5 miles at the beginning of the walk is included with your ticket. Horse owners will ask you to ride a horse telling you that it is included with the ticket. Of course, they expect you to give them a small tip around 5 JOD. In any case, Petra is a gorgeous place and it is worth paying a visit once in your life.
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