Category Archives: Middle East

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.


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

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!
at the Siq, in front of "The Treasury"
at the Siq, in front of “The Treasury”
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


Travel Trivia: the top 3 most-visited cities by international tourists

Travel Trivia Challenge

Can you name the top 3 most visited cities by international tourist arrivals in 2011?

I think you’ll guess the top 2 right away, but the 3rd may stump you. I wouldn’t have guessed it with 50 guesses!

The two most visited cities are…Paris and London.

Guess which is next?  I never would have guessed. According to Wikipedia, this place has more international tourists than New York City, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Dubai. Those were #4-8.

Hint: This city is in Turkey. That sounds like a giveaway hint, but the answer is not Istanbul.

Travel Trivia Answer

The answer is Antalya. Surprising!

Antalya is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.  It’s apparently a hotspot as a gateway city to the ‘Turkish Riviera’.  People go to see the ancient architecture and ruins. But it also has beautiful beaches and stunning views.

After hearing about my friends’ trip and looking at some photos, I want to visit!

Myra ruins in Antalya

Jumping photo of Noe in Pammukale, hot spring terraces

Hot Spring Terraces of Pamukale, in Antalya, Turkey. Jumping photo of my friend Noe. Great shot Estefania!

The Duden waterfall in Antalya, Turkey
The Duden waterfall in Antalya, Turkey
Antalya Beach, with impressive mountains, in Antalya, Turkey
Antalya Beach, in Antalya, Turkey
Impressive Duden waterfall in Antalya, Turkey
Duden waterfall, in Antalya, Turkey

Perge reminds me of my trip to Jerash, Jordan (ancient Gerasa). It’s one my first posts on this site when I first learning.

Perge - ruins of Antalya, Turkey
Perge ruins in Turkey

Full chart from wikipedia:

More info can be found at the official Antalya site. Secondly, I also like the Lonely Planet section on Antalya. Finally, the article “Six things you must do in Antalya” was well done.

This is the first of a new series of posts of places I haven’t visited yet but would like to. I’m calling it “I want to visit!

See more Travel Trivia posts here.

Thanks to Noe and Estefania for inspiring this post. I hope they enjoy the rest of their Turkey trip!