How to Explore the Ancient City of Petra?
Petra Jordan: the forgotten and re-discovered rose-red city of Petra is a must-see destination in the Middle-East.
If you only have a chance to see one place in Jordan, that has to be Petra.
This rose-red city has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1985 and was featured in one of the Indiana Jones movies: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
So Nabateans'capital was already a well-known symbol of Jordan when in 2007 it got elected as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
Petra alone generates 82% of Jordan's tourism revenues and the Department of Antiquities has warned recently that the increasing number of visitors poses a threat to the archaeological site.
Between 5,000-6,000 tourists visit Petra on a daily basis which has led the department to consider regulating the number of visitors allowed to enter.
However, there are no such limitations introduced to date (November 2009).
How to explore Petra
While all Jordan guidebooks devote large chapters to Petra, I recommend you to visit the website of
Petra National Trust,
a non-govermental non-profit organization with a mandate to preserve the antiquities, environment and cultural heritage of Petra.
How many hours do you need to really see the site?
I would say you need at least one full day to get the picture but if you have more time you can easily spend 2-3 days of exploring.
Don't race through the site unless you are on the Petra Marathon!
The Petra Archaeological Park is open from 6.00h in the morning until around 17.00h (sunset time) in the evening. Telephone number of the Visitor Centre: +962 (0)3 215 6044
You will enter the site from the main gate in Wadi Musa. The walk from this gate to the entrance of the Siq takes 15 minutes at a gentle pace (downhill) and perhaps an extra 10 minutes returning (because it is uphill) i.e. 25 minutes. So add 40 minutes to your total time to get there and back
Read Ruth's site about A Walk Around Petra to get an idea of the size of the Archaeological Park and all the monuments you will see on your way.
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