our destination expert
The pre-historic ‘Rose-Red City’ is indisputably among the world’s greatest historical treasures, steeped in mystery and wonder. Petra, a city lost to the wider world for over a thousand years, emerges out of a sheer rock face to astound even the weariest traveller like a trick of the desert-jaded mind.
You enter through the Siq, a narrow winding chasm that leads into heart of the mountain, leaving the world you know behind you and entering a different realm or time. 200 metre walls eclipse the desert sun, before opening up to reveal the Treasury Tomb, carved into pink and earthy-hued rock in a scene of unrivalled Classical drama.
Petra is thousands of years old, built by the Nabataeans, a great civilisation that briefly rivalled the Romans, before falling to their military might. Eventually, it was – like a good fairy tale – lost to the sands of time, until an audacious Swiss explorer tricked his way in during the 19th century, opening the lost city up the world once again.
Highlights include the huge, omniscient Royal Tombs that tower above the city centre, the mountainous Monastery and an 8,000 seat Roman amphitheatre, which is said to have been built by Nabataeans during the life of Jesus Christ. Petra is around 100km square, with an overwhelming 800 monuments. Many trips allow a couple of days to fully visit the city. And if you tire from trekking the ancient paths, do it the traditional way and hop on a camel!
Nearby is the desert of Wadi Rum, 700km of starkly beautiful sand valleys, biblical in their grandeur.
Having had the pleasure of exploring Petra extensively, Lightfoot’s Jordan team will use their own experience to tailor your luxury holiday to your exact requirements and offer impartial advice on where to stay.