Petra is an absolutely amazing place.  It has long been on my list of places that I had to see in person.

To see it all properly, you would need at least a full day to explore the various ruins and to climb to the top of the mountain to see the temple up there.  More on that below, and believe me, it is well worth the effort to climb the multitude of steps to get to the top.

Any trip to Petra starts with a long narrow passage through the rock called the Siq.

The Siq

The Siq is the name of the long, narrow, winding passage through the hills that leads to Petra.  For those of you familiar with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, this is the path that was known as the “Valley of the Crescent Moon” in the movie.

The Siq (1)

The Siq


According to Wikipedia the Siq is about 1 mile long, between 300 and 600 feet deep, and at points is no more than 3 meters wide.

After walking the path, it spits you out into a clearing seen here.

The "lobby" of the Treasury building. The exit from the Siq is straight ahead.

The exit of the Siq into Petra.

This view is of course seen looking backwards.  The view you see is much more spectacular.  Which leads us to…

The Treasury

Treasury Building at Petra

The Treasury building at Petra.

The Treasury (al-Khazneh) is the most famous building in Petra.  This photograph was one of the few that I had pre-planned that I wanted to get on my trip to the Middle East.  I was lucky that we got to Petra very early in the morning and there were no people besides us there.  I waited until all the rest of my group rounded the corner and then took this shot.

Later in the day when we were on our way out, I got a photograph of the whole façade in better light.

The Treasury building again. This time in better light.

Since size and scope are hard to communicate in pictures, note the guards standing at the base of the structure for an idea of the size of this building.

You can clearly see that the whole building was carved straight out of the rock face.  If you look closely at the left side, you can see notches in the rock.  These were the hand and foot holds used by the workers to get up to the different levels to work on the building.

Detail of the Treasury building at Petra.

Detail of the Treasury building at Petra.


Other Buildings

While the most famous part of Petra is the Treasury building, it is really only the entrance.  Petra itself is a vast area with many carved dwellings.  Some large, some small, and some truly epic.


The Temple

One of the most impressive structures is located at the very top of the mountains surrounding Petra.  As seen in the image at the top of this post, the temple at Petra is even larger than the Treasury.

The temple at Petra.  Notice how small the people are.

From ground level.

The temple at the top of Petra.  Notice the people near the entrance for scale.

The temple at the top of Petra. Notice the people near the entrance for scale.

Here’s what it looks like standing right next to it looking up.

The temple at the top of Petra.

The path to get to this imposing structure is equally impressive.  To get to the top of this mountain, you have to climb a winding set of stairs and paths carved into the mountain.  It’s quite the hike.  The views are spectacular though so there is plenty to take in while you’re climbing.

The path leading to the temple at the very top of Petra.

The path leading to the temple at the very top of Petra.

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