Do you know the city of Petra

The rock city of Petra in Jordan: Half as old as time

Alone for them Rock city of Petra worth a trip to Jordan. This huge desert city carved into the rock is a very special place that you will probably not find anywhere else in the world. Petra was once almost completely forgotten.

The rock city of Petra: a wonder building

The rock city of Petra in Jordan is a must for every Jordan traveler. Petra - too Desert city called - is an impressive complex of structures that the Nabataeans as early as 9000 BC Created.

“Find me such a miracle except in the Orient. A city, pink, half as old as timeso will the poet John Burgon cited after a visit to Petra in Jordan in the mid-19th century. And with that he describes this impressive place pretty well indeed.

It is not simply that the rock city of Petra is a collection of houses in the middle of the desert. What makes them so extraordinarily impressive is that this place is right in the middle of it Rocks of Wadi Araba was beaten. In this way, a true big city was created for the time, in which at weddings probably up to 40,000 people must have lived.

Petra is THE attraction in the Middle East

Today, countless tourists want to see this historic place with their own eyes every year. after the Visitor numbers last collapse due to an unsafe situation in the neighboring countries of Syria and Lebanon, the visitor counter cracked the magic again in 2019 1 million mark. Whether on a road trip through Jordan or on a cruise in the Red Sea: The rock city of Petra is and will remain a magnet for travelers and explorers from all over the world.

Together with Machu Picchu or the Coliseum in Rome, Petra became one of the New 7 Wonders of the World appointed. And rightly so. After all, a lot of the past has been preserved here. Countless graves and ancient buildings were carved into the rock over thousands of years and are still in a very good condition.

Like Indiana Jones: Through the "Siqs" to Petra

The way to Petra starts the same for all visitors. From the entrance near the small town of Wadi Musa, it goes along a slowly sloping path towards the "city entrance". On this 20 minute walk the rocks become higher and more threatening, the passage through the narrow ravines - which are called Siqs - more and more cramped and light-shy.

Here you can already see the first building skills of the Nabataeans: Long canals carved into the rock ensured that the water could get into the city during rainy seasons - similar to the Roman cisterns. Without access to the water, so many people would hardly have been able to survive in the hot and barren stone desert.

And then - as if out of nowhere - he feels good most famous view of Petra on: Through the rocks you can see the famous treasure house for the first time. The Khazne al-Firaun ("Treasure House of the Pharaoh") is probably the most famous building in Petra. One of the key scenes of the film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" was filmed here, which made the treasure house and the entire rock city of Petra very well known in Europe and around the world.

By loading the video, you accept YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Most visitors can hardly cease to be amazed. They have only just seen the beginning and from now on they are only really walking on the paths of Petra.

On Petra's streets: run, run, run!

The path through Petra meanders through the narrow gorges (Siqs) until Treasure house and then on through the ancient city. Large graves and caves, temples and an amphitheater line the path.

Much of it has been cut into the rock, but around the 3rd century BC people also began to erect structures above ground. But not as many of them have survived as of the imposing rock tombs in the ghost town. However, some remains of round columns give an idea of ​​how imposing this street must have once been.

The wall of the royal tombs

Here in the largest valley of the rock city, there is also the impressive one "Wall of the Royal Tombs". Like a cemetery with mega proportions, many small and large caves have been carved into the rock here. It is believed that they were only built for important people in the population. If you consider the simple tools that must have been available to the Nabataeans, the construction of such a grave will probably have taken many years. So only worthy of a king-like!

Human remains have never been found here. Perhaps the ravages of time have gnawed at them too much and they turned to dust. The gigantic grave temples are empty today, but have remained accessible.

From the entrance of the rock city to one of its most important buildings - the Ad-Deir Monastery - they are sweaty 8km walk. And only if you ignore the side branches and don't hike high up on the rocks. Because there are also various temples or even altars to discover up here. And the view of large parts of the Petra complex is probably nowhere better than from up here.

The Ad-Deir Monastery

So if the strength is still enough, you finally make your way to the Ad-Deir Monastery. The imposing temple monastery is located high on the rocks. An ancient staircase with innumerable steps leads up. Depending on your condition, you need 30 minutes to 1 hour to master it.

Ad-Deir probably only served as a monastery after it was taken over by Christianity in the 4th century, but this is how it got its name. Originally, rituals and sacrifices took place here. It is worth taking a look inside: At the highest point, the ceiling is 15 m high. The area of ​​the interior is also outstanding with more than 120m² and one cannot understand how the Nabataeans were able to do this without complex tools.

Petra had almost been forgotten in the course of history

After the end of the 13th century, Petra's existence was almost forgotten. Only the legend of the survived "Red rock city"until 1912 she was the Swiss traveler to Arabia Jean Louis Burckhardt newly discovered. Archaeological excavations began in 1920. In 1985 the building was then included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site recorded.

Lawrence of Arabia once wrote of this place when "The most wonderful place in the world". But he was of the opinion that any description faded from one's own experience of the city.

By the way: It is assumed that so far only a small part of Petra was exposed again Has. Researchers are still discovering other large cave complexes in the vastness of the Wadi Arabas.

Useful information for your visit to the rock city of Petra

You have never been to Petra and now you really feel like seeing this “wonder of the world” with your own eyes?

So that your visit is a complete success, I have summarized a few important facts for you.

📅 When is the best time to visit Petra?

Whether winter or summer: You can actually go to the rock city of Petra all the year long over visit. In summer, however, there can be uncomfortably high temperatures for German travelers.

Petra is open every day from early in the morning (6 a.m.) to evening (6 p.m. in summer / 4 p.m. in winter). The best times to visit are in the morning and afternoon. At this time the rock city is not so crowded and the temperatures are humane.

Also for Photo fans The morning and evening hours are particularly attractive: the rocks have different colors at any time of the day - depending on how the sun is currently in the sky. Magical!

But since you will spend the whole day here anyway, you should plan breaks for strengthening and regeneration, especially in the lunchtime area. Small snacks and oriental tea are sold in many places.

💰 What is the entrance fee to Petra?

If you want to visit the rock city of Petra, you have to dig deep into your pocket. A day ticket costs 50 Jordanian dinars (approx. 58 €).

It is cheaper if you buy a ticket for 2 or 3 days directly. Every day more then costs just 5 dinars extra.

And these prices only apply if you stay at least one night in Jordan. For cruise tourists and day tourists who come from e.g. Israel and do not spend the night in Jordan, the entrance fee is an impressive 90 Jordanian dinars (approx. 105 €).

Only Jordanians with a passport can get to the World Heritage Site cheaply: they only have to pull out 1 Jordanian dinar.

Important: bring your passport! Without him you cannot visit the rock city of Petra.

⌛ How much time do you need to visit Petra?

If you start your visit early in the morning, are on your feet and get things done quickly, you will see the most important things in Petra in one day. If you want to take a closer look at this place, you should plan an overnight stay in Wadi Musa and the purchase of a 2- or even 3-day ticket.

Incidentally, there are also night openings at regular intervals. With music and lots of candles, the rock city of Petra is put in a completely different light. Information can be found on the official homepage.

❔ Do I need a guide to visit Petra?

Not really! At least it was enough for me to explore and discover the rock city of Petra on my own.

But some might want more background information and an experienced guide will certainly know one or the other place that one would not discover so easily as a visitor.

When choosing your guide, however, make sure that it is someone official. The best thing to do is to find out more at the ticket office. Even in the parking lot, some people will assure you that they are the perfect guide. Whether they really have enough knowledge - or even a license - you will only find out afterwards.

Some will also offer you to "Back entrance" bring to. Better not go into that! Of course you can't just fence in such a large area as Petra, but you won't save much with taxi costs and bribes and you ended up illegally entering this attraction.

❌ Why should I refrain from donkeys and Bedouin children?

As you may see, a visit to Petra is one thing above all: run, run, run! Therefore, you are often offered transportation with a donkey. Especially in front of the stairs to the Ad-Deir monastery, their owners “lie in wait” for you and try to persuade you.

Hands off! These animals are usually already in bad shape visually, not at all suitable as mounts and often not worth much to the owner. The whole thing is animal cruelty that you shouldn't support under any circumstances.

If your feet really hurt, grab one of the Horse-drawn carriages back. These drive especially between the entrance and the treasure house. Horses are much better cared for than donkeys - they also cost more to buy. But make sure that you negotiate a fair price with the driver before you start your journey.

The same should be said with the many young people Bedouin children think twice whether you really want to support them. They sell postcards, magnets and similar souvenirs along the paths in Petra. Often all day long and all week long.

But even in Jordan these children should (and can) be in school. For the families, however, the appeal of quick money is often reason enough not to send them there any more. Therefore, it is better not to buy anything from minors in order not to support this short-term misbelief (and the violation of national compulsory education).

🚗 How do I get to the rock city of Petra?

From the bus station in the Jordanian capital Amman run daily comfortable coaches for tourists. The journey starts early in the morning and goes back late in the evening. The pure travel time for one route is approximately 3-4 hours.

Homepage of the Jett bus company

The alternative are Minibuses. These are not very comfortable, but much cheaper. If you can take on the adventure, you can get more information at the central bus station in Amman.

Many tourists also come from the city of Aqabawhich is right on the Red Sea. Public buses also run from here. The travel time is approx 2 hours.

The most comfortable is for sure Arrival with your own rental car. This option is particularly useful if you want to visit other places in Jordan besides Petra.

Book a cheap rental car

🏠 Where should I stay when I want to visit Petra?

The rock town of Petra borders directly on the small town Wadi Musa at. Here you will find many hotels, hostels and accommodations in a wide variety of price and equipment categories.

The advantage: From here it is only a few minutes drive with your own car or inexpensively with a taxi. Taxis are always waiting for customers in front of the main entrance of Petra, so you don't have to worry about coming back to your accommodation in the evening.

Worth seeing documentary about Petra

This article about the rock city of Petra in Jordan is certainly far from complete. Nevertheless, I hope that I gave you a first glimpse and aroused your desire to visit this exceptional sight yourself.

If you've tasted blood and want to learn more about the story of Petra, I can only warmly recommend this detailed documentary by Arte.

By loading the video, you accept YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Recommended Jordan travel guide