Petra Jordan: 12 Things You Should Know About ‘The Rose City’

Grand. Majestic. Monumental. Amazing! These are few adjectives I can think of to describe the ancient architectural wonders of Petra, the most popular attraction in Jordan.

Many people know nothing about Jordan except Petra. It is the primary reason why many tourists are interested to visit the country. Unfortunately, because of the current situation in the neighboring countries, tourists are afraid to travel and explore Jordan. Well we can’t blame them. Bottom line, safety is always the main priority when traveling.

Is it safe to travel in Jordan?

To be honest, Derick and I were hesitant to pursue our trip at first because of safety issues. However, contrary to what we had in mind, we were surprised on how safe we felt during the entire time we were exploring Jordan. Although we were sad when told that many hotels and establishments, particularly in Petra, were affected by the situation. And since the number of tourists visiting Jordan has dwindled in the past few years many businesses had to close down.


Exploring Petra…

Prior to our visit, Derick and I knew that it’s gonna be a long and tiring day. So we made sure we had enough sleep the night before and had a hefty breakfast to maximize our energies. We grabbed some fruits, biscuits and 2 bottles of water then we’re ready to go.

The gates opened as early as 6 o’clock in the morning. We arrived at the gates 30 minutes after it opened and started walking towards the narrow gorge of Petra. Along the way are the impressive rock formations that changes colors as the rays of sunshine touched through its surface.

Petra is really breathtaking, literally and figuratively. I can’t remember how many times I asked Derick to stop for a while because I was badly catching my breath. Each stop is a photo opportunity  since Derick keeps on snapping while I’m taking a quick rest.

Lo and behold, as you get closer to the heart of Petra you can see the majestic structure peeking through the gorge – the ‘Treasury Building’. The  ancient architectural wonder was right in front of me. I was really in awe! Believe me, the 90 minutes of walking was all worth it.

12 Things You Should Know About PETRA

1. The name Petra is derived from the Greek word ‘Petros’ which means ‘Rocks’


2. It is also known as the  ‘Rose City’ because of the rose-red colored sandstone hills.


3. It was built by the Nabataeans, sometime around 312 BC.


4. Petra was carved out of the sandstone cliffs to create structures such as buildings, temples, houses and tombs.

petra27Some of the royal tombs.

5. Because of its strategic location, Petra was one of the wealthiest cities in its time collecting fees and getting business from the large caravans passing through.


6. This desert city has abundant sources of water and survived the dry environment because of the water-system constructed by the Nabataeans. The aqueduct system brought fresh spring water to the city. 

petra12One of many aqueducts that were constructed by the Nabataeans

7. Boring isn’t a word in their vocabulary because the city has its own theater that  holds any kind of entertainment during their time.


8. In the Bible, it was in Petra where Moses struck a rock with his staff and drew water.

petra2This is one of the thousand rock formations in Petra. No, this is not the rock struck by Moses to draw water from. 

9. Petra was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt who is a Swiss explorer.


10. In 1989 Petra was featured in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusader.


11. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.


12. Petra was named among the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007


Important Tips To Remember When Visiting Petra:
  • Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November) are the best seasons to travel. Not too hot, not too cold.
  • Prepare your legs to do a lot of walking. From the entrance to the actual site, it will take 90 minutes on foot. Although you  have the option to hire a horse carriage to save some energy.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes and light clothing.
  • Sunnies, hats and face towels are must-haves.
  • Bring water and food. There are few stalls that sells refreshments with less choices.
  • Begin your day early. Petra is a large area to explore and it will take you a whole day to see everything.

Finally, our day ended with sore feet and tired bodies but we’re both happy to have explored one of the world’s greatest heritage sites. The experience was really awesome and unforgettable. I hope this article will inspire and somehow convince you guys to visit Petra, as well as the other parts of Jordan.