Discover One of the New 7 Wonders of the World

Alix M Campbell

Senior Contributor

It’s time to pull out your bucket list, and tick off that trip you’ve wanted to take for years. Petra, the Rose City, has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985 and it is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Marvel at the intricate rock-cut architecture all around as you discover this ancient Jordanian gem by day and by night.

Gaze at the famous sights of this city

The awe-inspiring city of Petra is located in the southern Jordanian mountains 240 km south of the capital Amman and 120 km north of the red sea town of Aqaba. When the city was destroyed by various earthquakes, Petra was abandoned, and it was only rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.

Today, this architectural gem is on many travellers’ bucket lists. From the town of Wadi Musa, a trail leads into the Siq, a gorge formed by tectonic forces. A path snakes between its tall rock walls revealing likely the most famous sight of Petra, its Treasury. This iconic façade forms the face of Petra attracting many visitors annually. It is carved into sandstone mountains and was originally built as a tomb for King Aretas III of the Nabateans.

Past the Treasury the path gets wider leading to an open area of houses and the Royal Tombs of the Nabateans. Roman remains can be found at the Colonnaded Street with a remaining road and various columns lining it. Another sight not to miss is the Great Temple, which is the most sizeable freestanding building in Petra. 

Discover various trails and hikes

There are numerous sights to discover in Petra, and you can do so - best with a local guide -whilst working up a sweat on the various hiking trails in and around the city. After visiting the famous Treasury, several other vantage points are waiting with their stunning views.

Marvel at the Roman ruins from a different angle before going on towards the Monastery, which is well worth visiting, especially as you have to work hard for it and climb up more than 800 steps. Overlooking the Monastery, you’ll find a small restaurant where you can relax and grab some refreshments.

Another hike takes you up to the High Place of Sacrifice. From here you’ll get to see Petra from a different but equally breathtaking viewpoint. If your legs are not too sore yet, you can make your way up to one of the holiest places in Petra where Moses’ brother Aaron is buried. Once you make it to the top, you’ll be gifted with incredible views of Jordan, Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

Watch the sunset/sunrise and see Petra by night

If you choose to stay overnight in a hotel in Wadi Musa - the nearest town to the archaeological site of Petra - you can take advantage of reduced entry prices compared to a one-off ticket. Another plus of staying more than one day is that you’ll be able to observe the fading light at sunset on the rock façade before the park closes at 6 pm.

The same goes for sunrise. The park opens around 6 am, which gives you the chance to take in all the sights early in the day - with less visitors - as the sun makes its way across the sky, lighting up the rock in a multitude of colours.

During the Petra Night Show you get to see this unique rock city in another light - the light of 1500 candles to be precise. This spectacle is on for three nights a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8.30 pm) and offers a truly magical way to top off your stay in Petra.

Visit the oldest bar in the world and relax at a hammam

When visiting a unique place like Petra, you might as well get a drink at the oldest bar in the world, right? The Petra Guest House in Wadi Musa proudly hosts the Cave Bar - converted from a Nabatean tomb - which is supposedly 2000 years old and the ideal place to end your day discovering this architectural wonder.

After a long day of trekking through this city, you might want to wash off the dust and soothe your aching muscles in one of the Turkish baths or hammams in Wadi Musa. There are several options for both female and male visitors to enjoy a typical invigorating session including a body scrub, steam bath and an oil massage.

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