Category Archives: Jordan

Impressive Petra!

Petra in Jordan is impressive! You’ve seen it on Indiana Jones, but it’s actually REAL! I’ll take you on a photo tour of Petra, and share the history. I highly recommend visiting!

Petra, one of the 7 Wonders of the World

First I’ll briefly catch you up on the history. Next, let’s take a photo tour.

History

Petra was established in the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans. They carved the entire city out of the rock. They didn’t build columns – they kept carving the rock until they had columns. Given the back-story, it’s some of the most impressive architecture I’ve seen.

The Monastary

The Monastery at Petra, The Monastery of Petra, (aka Ad-Dayr or Ad-Deir in Arabic), in Jordan
The Monastery, (aka Ad-Dayr or Ad-Deir in Arabic)

Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site

Petra is one of the new seven wonders of the world (as of 2007) . It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site as well (since 1985).

The Monastery is massive - Petra, Jordan
The Monastery is massive!

Next, let’s walk down to their canyon called the Siq.

The Siq in Petra

at the Siq, the narrow passageway to Al Khazneh ("The Treasury") at the ruins in Jordan
at the Siq, the narrow passageway to Al Khazneh (“The Treasury”)

Siq – Scale / By the numbers

The Siq is a 250-foot-high (76-meter-high) sandstone slot canyon. So impressive!

Al Khazneh ("The Treasury") - carved out of rock.
Al Khazneh (“The Treasury”) – carved out of rock.

The site from Indiana Jones

Watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade before you arrive.  You may recognize this spot (above photo) from the film.

The movie’s fictional “Canyon of the Crescent Moon” was modeled on it. The Siq leads directly to Al Khazneh (the Treasury). The Siq is pictured above, and the Treasury is below.

in front of Al Khazneh ("The Treasury") in Petra, Jordan
in front of Al Khazneh (“The Treasury”) in Jordan

When was it discovered?

Petra was established as early as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans. You can visit it now, but the site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812. UNESCO describes it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”. I agree! It’s such a gem!

camel at the ruins in Jordan

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 

At the film’s climactic final scenes, Harrison Ford and Sean Connery burst forth from the Siq and walk deep into the labyrinths of the Treasury in their quest to find the Holy Grail. But, as usual, archaeological fact bowed to Hollywood fiction when Indy came to Petra.

In reality, the Treasury is nothing more than a facade with a relatively small hall once used as a royal tomb.-Nat Geo

Monastary in Petra
photo by seetheholyland.net

There are dozens of tombs and other carved or constructed structures and sites within the city.

detail on the rocks in Petra
photo by Maureen
boulder falling
Don’t let the boulders fall on you!

Where is Petra?

You’ll find it in Jordan, in the Middle East. While you’re in Jordan, I suggest you also visit the Dead Sea and the Wadi Rum desert.

Jordan mapPetra map

Itinerary and tips

By now I think you know how much I love Petra. I recommend visiting as soon as it opens at 6am, if you’re able to. I really wish I had done that. Here’s why:

  • You’ll get it all to yourself
  • Get to experience the city before it gets swarmed by tourists
  • Walk through the Siq without waiting or getting bumped. As a reminder, the Siq are very narrow.
  • Catch an epic sunrise!
  • Explore before it gets too hot (bring lots of water)
  • Petra is photogenic! Take some great photos without competing for the angle!

Another name for the city?

“Wadi Musa” is another name for the same place. Google Maps sometimes refers to it this way.

Petra from a distance

 

Kindness in Jordan

This is a post about trust and kindness on my travels. I’ll share 3 stories from my experiences on kindness in Jordan. I met the nicest people!

I’ve met great people in every country but Jordan is a standout.  Jordanians would go so far out of their way to help us.

People were friendly in Indonesia and other countries. However, Jordanians kept going that extra mile beyond reasonable expectations. They were random strangers to help me. Often they tried to help us but most spoke very limited English, so the level effort was apparent.

Stories of kindness in Jordan

Here are three (3) stories of trust and kindness from my Jordan trip.

1) waiter offered to host us!

For example, a waiter actually invited us to stay with him at his home the “next” time we visit. We’ve gone through the conversation multiple times. We can’t quite figure out how it came to that. Nevertheless the invitation was incredibly generous!

2) Lost in the fog with no gas

Here’s another example. When we were driving in the fog, we were hopelessly lost in Jordan. Even worse, we were almost out of gas. Then, a guy we met along the way invited us into his house. He tried to help but couldn’t understand some parts of our English. Then, he called someone he knew that spoke marginally better English. That guy then tried to help direct us for this missing road.

3) Closed his ship to provide a personal escort

Here’s a third example. On our last night, we were a little lost driving through Amman, their capital city.  The highways are actually very well marked in Jordan, but there’s almost no signs on the local roads. We thought we must be really close but couldn’t find our hotel.

We pulled over to walk into a car dealership office to find someone to ask for help. There was only one guy working, and lucky for us, Mohammad that was nice enough to help.

He started kindly directing us. However, halfway through he said it was really complicated. We were only 15 minutes away, but he said he’d help us. He didn’t just finish telling us where to go, or show us on a map.  He closed the office, hopped in his car and had us follow him to our hotel.

If this had happened when I first arrived in Jordan, I’m not sure if we would have trusted. We’re so skeptical, which typically makes us “street smart.”  Would you trust a random person in the Middle East to drive to your hotel? That might have been slightly frightening, but at this people we expected friendliness.

This is Jordan, and it was yet another example of Jordanians going out of their way to help us. Mohammad was incredibly nice and helpful, and I’d like to give a plug to his business. Mohammad gave us his card afterward – he’s actually the Deputy CEO at Great Wall Al Said Automotive. If you’re moving to Jordan, that’s where to buy a car!  Thanks Mohammad!

Jordan map

Conclusion – kindness in Jordan

If you’re friendly, genuine, and just give people a chance, they might surprise you. I still recommend being street smart and remaining vigil.

Have you experienced kindness in Jordan? Have you experience kindness from locals on your travels?

Afterward I read a few good posts on trusting others in Jordan; here’s one from Nomadic Matt. It’s a great travel blog if you don’t already read it.