Petra, There is a point on the road , whether arriving from north or south , at which , rounding a corner, travellers catch their first glimpse of the wild and grand mountains at whose heart lies the hidden capital of the ancient Nabateans. The mountains themselves are astonishing, their multicoloured convolutions of sandstone and porphyry first formed by the primeval cataclysms that furrowed the Great Rift Valley across the face of the earth from southern Turkey to northern Mozambique. Then these rocks were sculpted by millions of years of wind and rain into the landscape of a dream.
The Khazneh (Treasury), the most famous and elaborately carved of all the facades of Petra, still presents puzzles regarding its date, who commissioned it, and its purpose, but the wealth of funerary symbols in its decoration suggests that it was associated with the Nabatean cult of the dead.
Between the columns at the centre of the circular Tholos at the top of the Khazneh stands a Goddes carrying a cornucopia, a composite representation of Al Uzza /Aphrodite /Tyche, and the carved badge at her feet bears the device of yet another identification, Isis.
By the 16th century, Petra was completely lost to the West, and so it remained for almost 300 years. Then in 1812, a Swiss traveller named Johann Ludwin Burckhardt persuaded his guide to take him to the site of the rumoured lost city.
While you are visiting Petra, you can enjoy good food at “The Petra Kitchen “
Travellers can learn to cook Arabic food during their time in Petra with the help of a local chef and the women from Wadi Musa. It is available every night, but needs to be booked in advance.
Travellers also can enjoy the experience of “Petra by night”, where the site is lit with candlelight, and guided tours are arranged. The tour is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Visit our Jordan Tours page for more information.