Jordan
Ma’an

Here you’ll find travel reports about Ma’an. Discover travel destinations in Jordan of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

56 travelers at this place:

  • Day4

    Bab al Siq (Petra Entrance)

    October 8 in Jordan

    We arrive in the town of Wadi Musa where we'll be staying for the night. It's also where the gateway to Petra is.

    After dropping my bags at the hotel, we head to the Petra visitor centre, where we pick up the tickets. You can also take a horse from here to the entrance, which is included in the ticket price. I decide to walk, it's only a kilometre. Along the route we see the Obelisk Tomb and Bab al-Siq Triclinium. This tomb had five people buried here in the upper part, with the lower part being a banqueting Hall to honour the memory of the deceased each year.

    It is not known precisely when Petra was built, but the city began to prosper as the capital of the Nabataean Empire from the 1st century BC, which grew rich through trade in frankincense, myrrh, and spices. Petra was later annexed to the Roman Empire and continued to thrive until a large earthquake in 363 AD destroyed much of the city in the 4th century AD. The earthquake combined with changes in trade routes, eventually led to the downfall of the city which was ultimately abandoned. By the middle of the 7th century Petra appears to have been largely deserted and it was then lost to all except local Bedouin from the area.

    In 1812 a Swiss explorer named Johannes Burckhardt set out to 'rediscover' Petra; he dressed up as an Arab and convinced his Bedouin guide to take him to the lost city. After this, Petra became increasingly known in the West as a fascinating and beautiful ancient city, and it began attracting visitors and continues to do so today.
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  • Day4

    The Monastery

    October 8 in Jordan

    From the main part of Petra, is a trail of mostly steps up for 2.5km to Ad Deir, or the Monastery. It's one of the largest in Petra at 47m wide and 48.3m tall. It's a considerable hike up, and has a little peak a bit further that has a great view over it.

    Hidden high in the hills, the Monastery is one of the legendary monuments of Petra. Similar in design to the Treasury but far bigger (50m wide and 45m high), it was built in the 3rd century BCE as a Nabataean tomb. It derives its name from the crosses carved on the inside walls, suggestive of its use as a church in Byzantine times. The ancient rock-cut path of more than 800 steps starts from the valley floor and follows the old processional route.

    The courtyard in front of the Monastery was once surrounded by columns and was used for sacred ceremonies.
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  • Day4

    Al-Khazneh al-Faroun

    October 8 in Jordan

    Known locally as the Treasury, this tomb is where most visitors fall in love with Petra. The Hellenistic facade is an astonishing piece of craftsmanship. Although carved out of iron-laden sandstone to serve as a tomb for the Nabataean King Aretas III, the Treasury derives its name from the story that an Egyptian pharaoh hid his treasure here (in the facade urn) while pursuing the Israelites.

    Some locals clearly believed the tale because the 3.5m-high urn is pockmarked by rifle shots. As with all rock-hewn monuments in Petra, the interior is unadorned. It's 40m high and 28m wide. They started carving it from the top down, so as not to damage it.Read more

  • Day4

    Viewpoint over Rift Valley

    October 8 in Jordan

    Further along from the Monastery a trail leads up to stunning hazy viewpoints over Wadi Araba, Israel and the Palestinian Territories and south to the peak of Jebel Haroun, topped by a small white shrine.

    After that I had to back track all the way down, through Petra and the Siq. A total of over 19km, tiring but a fulfilling day.

  • Day4

    Qasr al-Bint

    October 8 in Jordan

    One of the few free-standing structures in Petra, Qasr Al Bint was built in around 30 BCE by the Nabataeans. It was later adapted to the cult of Roman emperors and destroyed around the 3rd century CE. Despite the name given to it by the local Bedouin, Castle of the Pharaoh’s Daughter, the temple was originally built as a dedication to Nabataean gods and was one of the most important temples in Petra.

    The temple once stood 23m high and its features included marble staircases, imposing columns, a raised platform for worship, and ornate plaster and stone reliefs. The central ‘holy of holies’, known as an adyton, would have housed an image of the deities. The sacrificial altar in front, once overlaid with marble, indicates that it was probably the main place of worship in the Nabataean city and its location at street level suggests that the whole precinct (and not just the temple interior) was considered sacred.
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  • Day5

    Little Petra

    October 9 in Jordan

    We head to Siq al-Barid, commonly known as Little Petra, 9km north of Wadi Musa town. With its short, high gorge and familiar carved facades, it has similarities to it's big brother. However, although it sees its share of tour buses, is a lot less touristy than Petra.

    A short way along the road there, we park on the shoulder for one of Petra’s best views. A breathtaking sweep over the central valley of the ancient city, with many of the monuments in view, dwarfed by the mountains, where a local Bedouin is also admiring it.

    This whole area was a thriving community in Nabatean times, and there’s evidence in almost every cranny of Nabatean occupation. Just before you reach the Siq entrance, there’s a particularly striking facade on the right, with a strange, narrow passage for an interior.

    As you enter, you’ll realize why this was dubbed Siq al-Barid (the “Cold Siq”): almost no sun can reach inside to warm the place. It’s only about 350m long, with alternating narrow and open sections, and differs from most areas of Petra, firstly in the density of carved houses, temples and triclinia, there are very few blank areas, and secondly in the endearingly quaint rock-cut stairs which lead off on all sides, turning it into a multistorey alleyway that must once have hummed with life. In the first open area is what was probably a temple, fronted by a portico, below which is a little rock-cut house. The second open area has four large triclinia, which could have been used to wine and dine merchants and traders on their stopover in Petra. A little further on the left, stairs climb up to the Painted House, a biclinium featuring one of the very few Nabatean painted interiors to have survived the centuries: on the ceiling at the back is a winged cupid with a bow and arrow; just above is a bird, to the left of which is a Pan figure playing a flute. The third open area culminates in rock-cut stairs which lead through a narrow gap out onto a wide flat ledge; the path drops down into the wadi (Petra is to the left), but you can scramble up to the right for some excellent views.
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  • Day4

    Petra View

    October 8 in Jordan

    Not long after joining the Desert Highway north from Aqaba, we turn off onto the Kings Highway, the ancient route from Aqaba north through Amman all the way to Damascus, also used by the pilgrims.

    Along the route the altitude changes from around 2500ft to about 5400ft at it's highest. We stop at a viewpoint over the Wadi Musa (Valley of Moses), were we look down on the rocky canyons that enclose Petra, and with the Rift Valley in the hazy distance. Alongside this viewpoint, understandably the Crown Prince has a house, what a view.Read more

  • Day4

    The Siq

    October 8 in Jordan

    The Siq is a narrow gorge which is the only access to Petra, and is 1.2km long. This was the original course of Wadi Musa (River of Moses). Two water channels were carved in the wall sides, on the left drinking water, and eroded from the right the toilet water.

    At one time the Siq used to flood from the local river, so the Nabataean's built a dam at the entrance and diverted it through an 86m tunnel they also built. This then rejoins the Wadi Musa at the start of the Colonnade Street inside Petra. This meant Petra was never without water for domestic needs, filling the fountains, and irrigating the surrounding fields.

    Side gulleys of the Siq were also dammed to stop flooding, which still need to be maintained. The Siq also originally had an entrance arch and drawbridge. The rock walls of the Siq reach a maximum height of 80-90m, and in some stretches are just 3m apart.
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  • Day4

    Street of Facades

    October 8 in Jordan

    Continuing in the direction of the city, we go through the part of the Wadi Musa valley known as the Outer Siq. This stretch of road is also known as the Street of Facades, because of the amount of Royal tombs that align it.

    To the right, the great massif of Jebel Al Khubtha looms over the valley. Within its west facing cliffs are burrowed some of the most impressive burial places in Petra.

    Known locally as the Treasury, this tomb is where most visitors fall in love with Petra. The Hellenistic facade is an astonishing piece of craftsmanship. Although carved out of iron-laden sandstone to serve as a tomb for the Nabataean King Aretas III, the Treasury derives its name from the story that an Egyptian pharaoh hid his treasure here (in the facade urn) while pursuing the Israelites.

    Some locals clearly believed the tale because the 3.5m-high urn is pockmarked by rifle shots. As with all rock-hewn monuments in Petra, the interior is unadorned. It's 40m high and 28m wide. They started carving it from the top down, so as not to damage it.

    Petra is also known as the rose-red city, a name it gets from the wonderful colour of the rock from which many of the city's structures were carved. The Nabataeans buried their dead in intricate tombs that were cut out of the mountain sides and the city also had temples, a theatre, following the Roman annexation and later the Byzantine influence, a colonnaded street and churches.

    In addition to the magnificent remains of the Nabataean city, human settlement and land use for over 10,000 years can be traced in Petra, where great nature, cultural, archaeological and geological features merge.
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  • Day4

    The valley is crossed for its entire length by a wide Colonnade Street, parallel to the river. Built in the 2nd century AD by the Romans it is thought to be prevalently for ceremonial use, due to the absence of cart furrows, and would be flanked by seventy-two columns. It replaced the original Nabataean Street. The south side would have been an almost uninterrupted row of shops, the northern side probably hid the irregular buildings behind it.

    At the western end of the Colonnade Street was the monumental Temenos Gate, which gave access into the sacred enclosure surrounding the city's main sanctuary known as Qasr al-Bint. The gate, which collapsed during an earthquake, has had recent restoration.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Muḩāfaz̧at Ma‘ān, Muhafazat Ma'an, Ma’an, محافظة معان

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