There’s always one image of Petra that is shown every time these amazing ruins are mentioned – Al Khazneh known also as the Treasury. The narrow corridor made of the red rocks leads to it, you know it’s at the end of the path and so you are excitedly awaiting it after each turn. When I eventually saw the first glimpse of the Treasury the big joy overcame me, I almost had to pinch myself as I couldn’t believe I really am there. Unfortunately this place was the busiest of all – lots of tourists, local kids trying to sell you postcards, young guys hitting on you, trying to charm you into camel/horse/donkey ride. Funnily, the place I was looking forward to seeing the most was actually the one I liked the last from the whole complex. The Treasury itself was spectacular (even if I thought it’s gonna be bigger), just the whole touristy show was overwhelming. But I was there around noon, at the same time as most of the people – if you get there early in the morning or late in the afternoon you have big chances to have the place just to yourself.
To be honest I wasn’t very well prepared before visiting Petra. I just knew about the Treasury and it was the only image I had of the place. To my great surprise Petra has so much more to offer! The whole complex is enormous and it would take few days to see everything! Once you pass the Treasury (which is the first important stop after the entrance) there’re less people around and you can calmly explore and enjoy the place. The best thing you can do is going for one of the hikes around – I picked one leading to the High Place of Sacrifice and it was the perfect choice. During my 2 hours hike I met no one yet the scenery was breathtaking. It wasn’t the easiest hike but definitely worth the effort.
After the first extremely touristy impression Petra gets better and better. There’re a lot of wonderful ruins to explore, from old tombs to theaters, temples and monastery. To escape the crowds you can do some amazing hikes that let you admire the breathtaking landscape. As soon as you leave the main path also the local people become less money-oriented, they give advises about places to see or invite you for a cup of tea (but when I tried to pay or give a tip they didn’t want to).
Even if Petra is one of the most touristy places I’ve ever seen (and the most expensive to get to) it is popular for a reason. It is on UNESCO World’s Heritage List and was recently named one of the new Wonders of the World. It is also one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever seen, the one that literally took my breath away. So if only you’re in the Middle East be sure to include Petra in your itinerary! And if you’re wondering what other places you should visit in Jordan be sure to check a fellow blogger – Agnieszka’s post about 10 things to see in Jordan (in Polish, but you will get the impression what is worth seeing in the country)
Would you like to visit Petra? Do you like visiting touristy sights?
If you think of visiting Jordan or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!
Now you can visit Petra as a part of Petra Tour. This two days tour departs from Jerusalem every Wednesday and Sunday and is a great opportunity to see highlights of Jordan during your stay in Israel. If you need any more info about visiting Petra from Israel be sure to check this great website!
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