With dominating rock-cut structures and iconic architecture, Petra is Jordan’s most important and iconic tourist attraction.

80% of tourists come to Jordan to see Petra. And for the second time in history Petra has now welcomed more than 1 million visitors in a single year this year.

Here’s why you should add this record-breaking historic city to your bucket list:  

A Unique Historical Attraction

Petra is one of the most unique archeological cities in the world.

What makes Petra so unique is that the structures are half-built and half-carved into the rock.

Petra is an iconic UNESCO World Heritage site, and its most famous landmark is The Treasury. The sheer scale of this rock carving is breathtaking and looks like something straight from an Indiana Jones movie.

Great temple complex in Petra

Visitors can’t go inside The Treasury, but outside is the best spot on the site to take photos. Arrive as early as possible if you want to get your shots without 100s of other tourists in them too!

Petra is often referred to as the lost city because although it was built in around 312 BC, it wasn’t rediscovered in the modern world until 1812. But along the way it was occupied and adapted by other civilisations.

You can see the remnants of an innovative water system put in place by the Romans, for example. Pretty impressive given how arid the desert conditions here are!

the ancient city of Petra, Jordan at night.

You will also see evidence of copper mining in Petra. But it is the intricate carving in the rock face, and the dominating ancient tombs and other architectural structures that will really wow you.

Petra is so special because you are getting a unique glimpse of history. While walking through the city, it’s easy to imagine that you’ve stepped back in time.

It’s the kind of place that you’ll never forget once you’ve seen it in person.

Stunning Natural Beauty

Aside from the historic attractions that draw most people to Petra the whole city sits in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Of course you will be able to appreciate the vast expanse of desert.

rocks and ancient architecture in Petra, Jordan

But as you approach Petra you’ll also see dramatic mountains and gorges. And this area is popular with hikers.

Petra has a number of set hiking trails ranging from easy to strenuous. The route you choose will depend on how much time you have as well as on your fitness levels!

Because no motorized vehicles of any kind are allowed to enter the ancient city of Petra itself, this means that it is an incredibly safe location for walkers and explorers too.

The Monastery (El Deir) and surroundings. One of the most beautiful facades in Petra, Jordan

It also adds to the feeling of stepping into the past because the city has been relatively untouched by modernity.

Peta is well-preserved, safe, and easy to get to. Most people visit Petra as part of a group tour, but if you’d rather travel independently, then it’s easy to get to on route from either Amman or Aqaba.

A Rich Cultural Hub

The area around Petra and the other nearby attraction of Wadi Rum is inhabited by Bedouins.

Bedouins are a historically nomadic community but there is a big settled community of Bedouins here too. These are fascinating people who have spent many generations learning to adapt to the harsh conditions of the desert.

A Bedouin with a camel in Petra Jordan

The Bedouins in Petra belong to the B’doul tribe and they settled in the city around 200 years ago.

Bedouins are famous for their rich culture as well as for their warmth and hospitality. Visiting Petra provides a great and unique opportunity to visit with the Bedouin people here as well as to learn about their culture and their way of life.

Within Petra itself there are Bedouin people offering camel rides and local foods to tourists.

Things To Know

If you plan to visit the archeological park in Petra then you will need to take your passport. You can’t gain access without it even if you have purchased your tickets in advance.

You can buy 1,2, or 3-day passes for the archeological park but most people suggest that you allow 2 days to visit and see everything the site has to offer at a manageable pace.

Petra Jordan

The weather in Petra can be unpredictable. Exposed areas can be breezy while the midday sun is scorchingly hot. Pack light comfortable layers and don’t forget comfortable walking shoes because you will be walking a lot and on uneven surfaces too.

Like most other places in the Middle East female travelers are advised to dress conservatively to avoid any unwanted attention.

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