It seems no work of Man’s creative hand….from the rock as if by magic grown, eternal, silent, beautiful, alone… a rose-red city half as old as time. – Petra by John Burgon

Entry into Petra, JordanWe were back in Petra bright and early after our exhilarating Petra by Night experience.  We were excited beyond words to finally explore it by day.

The walk from the site entrance before we reached the Siq was a pleasant surprise.  We didn’t realize that the dark path where we walked by the previous night was lined with amazing stone formations and structures.  Petra, meaning “stone” in Arabic, is a land of beautiful rose red stones indeed.


Caves, Petra, JordanWe were like kids who eagerly climbed every stone structures we were allowed to. This was ruin was a home to one of the ancient dwellers.


The Obelisk Tomb,  Petra, JordanWe passed by a structure called Obelisk Tomb named after the obelisks that adorn the top. The top level is the tomb proper and the lower level is a dining hall for Nabateans funerary rites.  (For brief history about Nabateans and Petra, see Petra by NIght.)


The Siq, Petra, JordanWe finally reached The Siq, the mile gorge that would take us into the inner city of Petra.


The Siq, Petra, Jordan

You can journey through the Siq by horse or horse-drawn carriage, but we encourage you to  walk through it to best experience its atmospheric effect and to enjoy the delightful details you will discover along the way.


e Siz, Petra, JordanMeandering through the twist and turn of this magnificent gorge was awe-inspiring.


The Siq, Petra, Jordan

Being dwarfed by its immensity was humbling.


10b_Niches along the Siq, Petra, JordanSome of the votive niches carved into the rock that we saw along the Siq.


Water Canal in The Siq, Petra, Jordan

The Nabateans were not only architectural geniuses and shrewed business people who made fortune by levying tolls to caravan traders, they were also masters in water engineering.  This canal was one of the impressive systems they created to channel water through the Siq into the dry desert city.


The Siq,  Petra, JordanAlthough badly eroded, you can still make out the outline of this ancient statue – a man leading a camel carved out of the Siq’s sandstone.


Geologic Formations in The Siq, Petra Jordan The colorful rocks and interesting geological formations were such spectacular sights.


Cobblestone, The Siq, Petra, JordanIt was mind-blowing to be stepping on the same cobblestones where the ancient caravaners passed through more than 2,000 years ago.


Young Bedouin Men, Petra, JordanBedouin men walking along the Siq. The Bedouins inhabited Petra and its surrounding for centuries. They knew about Petra all along and tried to keep it a secret from the outside world.

In fact, the Swiss explorer who rediscovered Petra in 1812, gained access to the fiercely guarded site by pretending to be a devout Muslim who had to pass through to make a pilgrimage to the nearby mountain where Prophet Aaron was buried.

The Bedouins inhabited the caves of Petra until the 1980’s when the government moved them into the nearby village to preserve the site as well as to protect them from stone erosions.


The Siq, Petra, JordanThe Siq opened up before it narrowed again into a fissure.


The Siq, Petra, Jordan

Finally, the light came at the end of the Siq and the magnificent treasure of Petra emerged.


The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Although we had seen the Treasury the night before, witnessing it during the day was still surreal.

Deftly chiselled from a solid stone and completed about a century before Christ was born, this Nabatean masterpiece was built as a tomb for an important Nabatean king and later became a temple. (And yes, it was the temple in the final scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.)

The Treasury, Petra, JordanThe building is called the Treasury because the Bedouins believed that the urn carved above the entrance contained treasures. The urn, in fact, is riddled with bullet shots inflicted by tribesmen who tried to loot the urn, which turned out to be a solid rock.


Avenue of the Facade, Petra, JordanFrom the Treasury, we walked along the Outer Siq which led us to the Street of Facades, lined by facade of tombs of prominent Nabateans. At this point, we realized that like many great ancient civilizations, the Nabateans put great importance in building funerary structures.


Rocks on the Avenue of the Facade, Petra, JordanKeith admiring the layers of colors on the rock wall along the Street of Facades.


Camels, Petra, JordanYou can hail one of these Petra taxis to travel around the ground of Petra.


Bedouin Children selling postcards, Petra, JordanLovely Bedouin children selling Petra postcards.


Bedouin Vendors, Petra JordanA Bedouin man selling old coins and a little girl selling rocks. Although they no longer live in Petra, the Bedouins are still very much present at the site where they practice their entrepreneurial skills. Bedouins are hard working people. They don’t ask for money, they like to earn it.


Necropolis, Petra, JordanPassed the Streets of Facades is the Necropolis, the tombs for ordinary Nabateans.


The Theater, Petra, JordanAn amphitheater that was carved out of a rock. It used to seat an audience of 7,000.


Cave homes, Petra, JordanHomes on the rocks.


Tourist Police, Petra, JordanWas Keith under arrest? No, this tourist police took a liking on him and was teaching him to speak Arabic.


Royal Tomb, Petra JordanThe ruins of the Royal Tombs. It is said that their intricate carvings used to rival that of the Treasury. Unfortunately, they’re in a sad state of erosion.


Royal Tomb, Petra JordanThe view of the rest of the Royal Tombs from the Colonnaded Street.


Colonnade Street, Petra, JordanThe beautiful Colonnaded Street was the main path leading to the city center. It used to be surrounded by markets, temples and public buildings.


The Market, Petra JordanThe ruin of the Upper Market.


The  Tenemos Gate, Petra, JordanThis grand structure is the Tenemos Gate, one of the few free-standing structures in Petra. It was an entrance to the sacred complex.


Temple of Dushares, Petra, JordanLocated in the sacred complex is the Qas al-Bint. It was the temple for Dushara, the principal god of the Nabateans. It is also one of the few free-standing structures in Petra.


Stairways to the Monastery, Petra, Jordan

We were excited to finally head to the grand finale of our Petra exploration – the Monastery. But we had to work our way to get there. It entailed climbing a flight of about 800 steps cut from the rock and some steep slopes that twist and turn through a gorge to the Monastery on top of the mountain.


Stair steps  to the Monastery, Petra, Jordan

We could have take another form of Petra taxi (donkey) to get there but we chose to earn our way.


Halfway to the Monastery, Petra, JordanTaking a break half-way through the Monastery.  The view was totally worth every drop of sweat.


Hike to the Monastery, Petra, JordanTired but happy soles.


The Monastery, Petra, JordanThe Monastery – it was worth every step! This grand structure is thought to have served as a temple or a tomb or both. It was similar in design with that of the Treasury but less embellished

Although the Treasury is hands down the loveliest structure in Petra, the Monastery was our favorite.  We liked its peaceful and beautiful location and that it was not crowded at all. We got to enjoy it pretty much to ourselves from the nearby cave we discovered.

37b_Cave near  the Monastery, Petra, JordanNot only we were able to rest and enjoy the sight of the Monastery from the cave but we also had the pleasure of hanging out with a fascinating 9-year old Bedouin girl.  She spoke excellent English, really smart and feisty. She asked if I was wearing a gel nail polish. I asked, “How did you know about get nail polish?” She quipped,” I’m a Bedouin. We Bedouins know everything!”

Our little Bedouin friend highly recommended (or more likely “ordered”) that we climb this hill located across the Monastery.  Although our guidebook marked the Monastery as the end of our Petra trail, we felt that we had to heed the wisdom of this young Bedouin who knew everything.Room 468, Petra, Jordan More than halfway through the hill, we stumbled into this huge chamber which according to the the site marker was called ” Room 468″ and contain an idol niche which is the “most finely-carved example in Petra.” Keith was happy to take the place of the missing idol.


The Monastery, Petra, JordanThe fine view of the Monastery right outside Room 468.


View of the Valley, Petra, JordanThen we remembered our little friend’s instruction to climb to the very top of the hill. And we were glad we listened.   We were afforded a spectacular 360 degree view of the valley.


The Monastery, Petra, JordanAnd nothing can beat our breathtaking grand finale view from the top of the hill.  We thank our little Bedouin friend who knew everything.

So there goes the Petra of my dream. Was I satisfied? Yes! Do I want more? Hell, Yes!

Some excavation work is currently underway in Petra. According to National Geographic, only 15% of Petra is uncovered. The rest of it is still underground and untouched.  Hey Petra, see you again! Looking forward to meet your 85% someday!


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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

48 responses to “Petra: Romancing the Stones

  1. My goodness, what a fantastic day you had! How deep are the rooms in the buildings carved into the stone? Just a few feet deep or are they big enough to fit a crowd? I think the erosion of the man leading a camel carving truly gave me a sense of of old these structures are. It must have been magnificent when it was an active city.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..21 Years of Traveling through MarriageMy Profile

    • Hi Michelle, we really had a fantastic day. The inside of the buildings where we were allowed to go in were pretty deep and can fit a crowd. I imagine that during its heyday Petra was the equivalent of Manhattan, bustling with commerce, camel traffic and activities.
      Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted..Petra: Romancing the StonesMy Profile

  2. Leigh

    WOW! I would so love a visit to Petra and to Jordan and even more so after your post. I recently had a speed dating session with Visit Jordan and very much hope a visit comes out of it. Just beautiful. How hot was it when you were there?
    Leigh recently posted..A Rocky Mountain High in Banff National ParkMy Profile

    • Hi Leigh, I really hope that a visit comes out of your speed dating session. It really is a beautiful country with wonderful people. I’m pretty sure you will love it there. The weather was gorgeous when we were there last June. It was sweater cool in the morning and at night and comfortable during the day having no humidity.

    • Aww…thank you, Jackie! We’re pleased that we got your travel juice flowing and pulsating. Such a sweet compliment:)

  3. “It was mind-blowing to be stepping on the same cobblestones where the ancient caravaners passed through more than 2,000 years ago.” I felt the same way when we were at Ait Ben Haddou in Morocco. I would love to walk through the Siq. The walk to the top of the hill certainly was worth while – what a grand finale!
    budget jan recently posted..Our Airbnb ExperiencesMy Profile

    • Hi Jan, Ait Ben Haddou is another astonishing site. Isn’t it amazing to be able to walk in these ancient sites? The walk through the Siq was out of this world. You wouldn’ t want to do it any other way.

  4. what a fabulous journey you shared. i looked at petra at night on my cell and didn’t comment last week because my fingers are to fat to type, it was mesmerizing, but i kept wondering about the day… and now to get the full on affect thru your creative eyes is fantastic. you are making me want to travel again, desperately! such a fabulous day you shared with us, you capture the essence in your shots and i can feel the heat and warmth of the rocks radiating out. dang i want to go there now, its not nice to covets others trips! thank you for sharing~

    • It’s our pleasure. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the both Petra posts. It truly is a mezmerizing place. I hope you take out your luggage and go traveling again!

  5. Wow! what an amazing trip you have had. It is hard to come to grips with the immensity of Petra. I love those views through the narrow rock walkways. and your images of the children. Interesting to read that “petra” means “rock”.
    Thank you for taking us with you to this wonderful place. Oh how I would love to go there, but I will be content for now looking at your amazing images.
    Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for stopping by my blog this week.

    • Hi Jill, you should see it in person to appreciate its immensity and incredible views. I hope you get to visit someday. I’m glad you enjoyed the images. The children were such joy to photograph.

  6. If this is only 15%, which includes an arena that could host 7,000 people, I can’t imagine what the rest of 85% has to offer. This is truly magnificent. Thank you so much for the amazing journey you took us in Petra, Marisol!
    Salika Jay recently posted..10 Safest Places To Travel In Asia Pacific For WomenMy Profile

    • Hi Salika, our pleasre. It really is mindblowing how much more of it is uncovered. It’s so immense as it is. But I’m really glad that there’s more to discover and more to see in the future.
      Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted..Petra: Romancing the StonesMy Profile

  7. Sophie

    Such a wonderful and unique place Petra. Thanks for sharing all those fab photos, especially love the details. And that bedouin girl, she knows more than I do; never heard of gel nail-polish.
    Sophie recently posted..Republika Srpska: Pretty TrebinjeMy Profile

    • You’re welcome, Sophie. Ha! Ha! I know I was surprised she knew about it because it was a sort of new thing that I just found out myself. It’s a kind of nail polish that lasts longer – for up to 3 weeks. It’s good for traveling. I was actually wearing it for the first time:)

    • HI Dana, I guess it was not until that recent the the government took the preservation of Petra seriously as well as the safety of the Bedouins. I’m pleased that the photos encourage to visit Jordan. I hope you do so. Its true beauty is hard to capture on photos.

  8. What a beautiful, awesome adventure. These are some of the most amazing, wonderful photos I have ever seen on a blog.

  9. Maria

    What an utterly fascinating trip! The face of the Treasury reminds me of that temple/church in Indiana Jones The Last Crusade. Is it the same, by any chance?
    Maria recently posted..Roman Holiday: The PantheonMy Profile

    • Hi Maria, it truly is fascinating. Yes, the Treasury was the temple in the final scene of Indiana Jones.

  10. Kalyan

    beautiful colours & composition…lovely!

  11. Bama

    What magnificent pictures! I love how you captured the small details most people missed. The Nabateans were truly amazing and genius people. I can almost imagine how it was like when Petra was still in its heyday. Busy markets and caravans, from various places in the region. Such a marvelous place!
    Bama recently posted..Gedong Songo: Prelude to BorobudurMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Bama, It really is such a marvelous place. I can’t even imagine how magnificent it was during its heyday. The genius of the Nabateans is really mindblowing. They were so ahead of their time.

  12. Riet

    Wow,wow. You do travel. I have seen the list on your sidebar. And some of your photo’s, stunning! I come back for more. Thank you.
    Riet, The Netherlands.
    PS have not seen it on your list yet.:))

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Riet, thanks for visiting. We’ve been to your country several times but it was before we met. All the travels we post here are the ones we have gone together. We both love the Netherlands and we look forward to traveling there together.

  13. Freya

    Petra is very high on my Bucket List, after seeing your fabulous captures even more so. When I’m there I’ll definitely follow as well your little Bedouin friend’s instructions. WoW what an amazing view.
    Freya recently posted..Inca Trail Day 3 – The Longest DayMy Profile

    • HI Freya, I hope you get to go there soon. It’s amazing and I’m pretty sure you will love it. And yes, please keep our little Bedouin friend’s tip in mind. The view from the top of the hill will leave you speechless.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Sere, thanks! Petra is truly a beautiful, amazing place and I wish from the bottom of my heart that you get to travel in this place someday.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Lucy, thanks! It’s hard not to have a great memory of Petra, isn’t it?

  14. Love this post, Marisol! I’ve read quite a few Petra posts in the blogging world recently. But, your pictures and details are ones that really transported me there. Thanks for the virtual tour! This is high on our list and it’s such a great idea to see it at night and during the day. Those Street of Facades are amazing. Love how you guys make friends all over the locals and the Bedouin girl knows her fashion and views.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural HistoryMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hello Mary, thank you! So touched that out of the numerous blog posts out there about Petra, ours transported you the most! Your family will have an amazing time here. I can’t wait for you guys to go. And there are also other places in Jordan that will be great to visit with the kids. Jordan was one of the friendliest places we visited and we felt safe everywhere. We highly recommend it.

  15. Love the camels! And such a good suggestion to walk through, I imagine you really get a feel for it this way, and all your photos are gorgeous!
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted..A Day On A Dude RanchMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jess, thanks! Yeah, those camels are adorable. Walking through the Siq really gave us a good sense of history, antiquity and nature.

  16. Kira S.

    Hey guys, beautiful post, amazing photos, lovely details! Thanks for transporting me to Jordan. Experiencing it through your eyes is just incredible. Love you sense of wonder and all your interactions with the locals. Looking forward to more of your Jordan posts.

  17. Whoa, it looks extremely hot there! Sounds like an awesome journey to be at Petra! So, what is your next travel? Thank you for visiting me earlier this week in my corner of the world:)
    Emille (Jesh StG) recently posted..A MATTER OF BEAUTYMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Emile, the weather was actually pleasant. It was warm during the day with low humidity and cooler during the night early morning. We just returned from Dominica and Headed to the Himalaya in couple of months.

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