Tour of Petra
The city of Petra is as dramatic as you always imagined, hewed from the rose-red rocks of the mountains that kept it a secret until it was rediscovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812. Established by the Nabateans in the 3rd century BC, they carved out palaces, tombs, temples, stables and storerooms into the surrounding mountains. Petra became an important stop on the caravan trading route between east and west. At its height, it is said that Petra was home to 30,000 people. When trade switched to the sea, Petra was deserted, only being home to the odd Bedouin who lived in its many caves. It takes about half a day to truly see the secrets which Petra has to reveal.
We will provide you a private guide from the entrance until the Qasr El-Bint temple, from where you can independently walk up to the Monastery. The privately guided tour takes about 2-3 hours allowing you for an afternoon of independent exploration of Petra.
You begin the day by walking through the Siq, a narrow canyon-way of about 800 metres. You will then see the famous Treasury glimpsing out before you, known locally as Al Khazneh. The Treasury is actually a tomb, but the local belief was that an Egyptian pharaoh hid his treasure in the top urn.
You then walk on to the Outer Siq, known as the Street of Facades which contain about 40 tombs carved into the sandstone. You then approach the Theatre, built by the Nabataeans and chiselled out of rock. It was expanded by the Romans to seat 8,500. Should you want, you can make the 45-minute ascent to the High Place of Sacrifice (see our Hidden Petra tour).
You then pass the Royal Tombs, which offer some of the finest carvings in Petra. These are reached via a series of steps from close to the Theatre. Here you can again opt for another side-trip taking about 1 hour to the the flattened High Place of Jebel Khubtha (see Hidden Petra), which provides you with the best views of the Treasury.
The path turns west along the colonnaded street which once was home to countless shops and a bustling market. You then arrive at the Great Temple, dating from the first century BC. The Great Temple was once adorned in striking red-and-white stucco. Continue to Qasr Al Bint, one of the few free-standing structures in Petra.
You are then free to have lunch at either the Nabataean Tent Restaurant or better Basin Restaurant before proceeding to the Monastery in the afternoon, or explore some of Hidden Petra.