The Rose City- Petra
Did you really go to Jordan if you didn’t go to Petra? Normally, I’m critical of things that are super popular, but, trust me, Petra is 1 of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World for a reason. There really aren’t words or even pictures that are adequate to describe the beauty of this ancient city. The vast, almost perfectly preserved facades, the colors in the rock, and the view from on top of one of the mountains all took my breath away.
I looooove Amman, but it was so nice to get out of the city for a day and drive out into the desert. If you’re going to Petra, you need to stop in Wadi Musa and eat at Bukhara. Order the chicken kabob and it will change your life. Seriously, it’s the best restaurant food I’ve had while in Jordan. (Also, this is your chance to buy a giant water bottle before you go into Petra and all the prices are hiked.)
Walking in Petra felt like we had stepped inside of a movie…(Indiana Jones, anyone?). It was so surreal and majestic. It was even more amazing thinking about how, until fairly recently, people (like the Bedouins) had lived in this city. My classmates and I agreed that it’s almost impossible to truly capture the beauty of Petra in a picture. Seriously, you need to go to Petra and see it for yourself. It is 100% worth it.
Once again, it seemed so surreal when I finally saw the famous facade of Petra. Maybe one day it will click that I’m actually in Jordan, but right now everything seems too beautiful to be real. Also, our tour guide was super awesome and showed us this spot, so we could get a great picture without tons of people/camels/donkeys/horses in the background. One really incredible thing is that this facade was almost perfectly preserved, only one column had to be mended.
After our official tour ended, we had about three hours to explore the rest of the city. Once our ISA director told us about the option of climbing 900 steps to the top of a mountain where we could potentially see the border of Jordan with Palestine/Israel, all 8 of us immediately knew how we would be spending the next few hours. (We’re all more than a little obsessed with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict). Nine hundred steps sounded like nothing at first, until I remembered that I’m from Florida- where there are no mountains and there’s constantly humidity in the air, nothing like the dry air of Jordan. Add to that the fact that our director walks at something we’ve termed “Mohammad speed” (his 25 minute walk to school takes us 40 minutes sometimes), and, after 300 steps in, those overpriced donkey rides started to look appealing. But, al-hamdulillah, our director had mercy on us and we took some breaks while hiking to enjoy the beauty of Petra from up high (and we didn’t add our weight to the already overworked donkeys).
It was a long hike, but the view on the top of the mountain was absolutely worth it. From the top of the mountain we climbed, you can see another famous facade of Petra.
In the distance (the opposite direction from this facade), you can also see a tomb where Aaron, the brother of Moses, is rumored to be buried (there’s very little historical/archaeological proof of this, though). Further in the distance, on a clear day, you can see Palestine/Israel (way in the distance in the picture below). I can’t say it enough, the hike was so worth it. At the top of the mountain, the air is cool, the breeze is refreshing, it’s quiet and peaceful, and you have the most beautiful view of Petra (and beyond!).
So- go to Jordan. Go to Petra. Take the long hike and appreciate the beauty. But, in addition to that, learn about the history (especially the more recent history of Petra). Learn about the people who used to live there and what they’re doing now. Don’t just be a typical tourist, learn about the complexities of Petra and be an informed visitor. And then go back home and tell everyone about the beauties of this incredible nation!