The ancient city of Petra is one of Jordan’s national treasures and by far its best-known tourist attraction. Located about two and a half hour south of Amman, Petra is the legacy of the Nabateans, an industrious Arab people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2000 years ago. Admired then for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels, Petra is now a UNESCO world heritage site that enchants visitors from all corners of the globe.
Much of Petra’s appeal comes from its spectacular setting deep inside a narrow desert gorge. The site is accessed by walking through a kilometer long (Siq), the walls of which soar 200 meters upwards. Petra’s most famous monument, the Treasury, appears dramatically at the end of the siq.
Used in the final sequence of the film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, the towering facade of the Treasury is only one of myriad archaeological wonders to be explored at Petra.
Various walks and climbs reveal literally hundreds of buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gateways, colonnaded streets and haunting rock drawings – as well as a 3000 seat open air amphitheatre circa, a gigantic first century Monastery and a modern archeological museum, all of which can be explored at leisure.
A modest shrine commemorating the death of Aaron, brother of Moses, was built in the 13th century by the Mamluke Sultan, high a top mount Aaron in the Sharah range.