There’s never been a better time to make pilgrimage to the rose-pink city – 2012 is the 200th anniversary of the ‘rediscovery’ of Petra by Swedish adventurer Johann Burkhardt.
Carved out of sandstone outcrops by the Nabataean people, the craftsmanship of the Treasury (khazneh) - its fantastical façade - is remarkable, as is the classic walk through the epic sandstone canyon, and you’ll quickly realise why this forgotten desert city is Jordan’s number one attraction.
- The word Petra (as with Peter) means “rock” and is derived from the Greek and Arabic language. It is a wonderfully appropriate name as this ancient city is literally carved from the rose-red sandstone hills and outcrops.
- The Treasury is so-called because the Bedouin believed it contained a cache of gold and jewels
- The Treasury (or Khazneh) featured prominently in the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie
- This historical fortress is located 170 miles southwest of Amman, Jordan on the edges of the Wadi Araba desert. It is also 50 miles south of the Dead Sea and the only way to enter the city is through a narrow crevice called the Siq
- Petra consists of over 800 carved tombs however 80% of the original carvings are thought to be lost
"We arrived in Petra on New Year’s Eve … some of us went to the Petra by Night show. “Watch where you are putting your feet” said the cheerful gentleman in charge, addressing the assembled crowd. That was excellent advice, but who walks through the siq without gazing up at the distant tops of the rocks and the stars above? Still, not that many of us fell over on the cobbles and the cracks, and we made our way down between the small paper lanterns lining the route on either side, and that first glimpse of the Treasury before you finally come out in front of it is every bit as fabulous by night as by day. We sat and listened to its history in music and words (all in Arabic, but that did not matter). It was freezing cold, and glasses of hot sage tea were handed round. Sugar, sugar and more sugar to sweeten it; I wouldn’t have touched it anywhere else, but it was very welcome that night. I have spent many New Year’s Eves in many different ways, but that one has to be the most memorable ever"
Teresa Mozley - Customer Relations Executive
Our five-day Rose Red City trip visits the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum and the city of Petra.