This summer we took my daughter and grandchildren to visit the ancient Nabataean city of Petra in Jordan. It has changed quite a bit since my visit back in the spring of 2007.
I guess being named 2nd. in the New 7 Wonders list in July 2007 brought about the changes, most of them good, some I’m not sure are great.
The Bedouins are still there hawking carriage, camel, horse, and donkey rides as are the snack bars and gifts shops around the entrance to the park, they’re just more organized and now have free wi-fi for guests.
Gone are the enormous portraits of Jordan’s beloved kings, King Hussein and his son the current King Abdullah, that covered the wall of the small visitor center.
The visitor center is there, now located behind a gate and clustered with shops and new restroom facilities around a rotunda. The ticket windows are right outside. You can still hire guides inside the visitor center.
The biggest changes that I noticed are the new snack bar and souvenir shop inside the park itself located just across from the famous “Treasury”, the abundance of tables through out the park displaying handicrafts for sale, and the Bedouin kids hawking postcards everywhere. They seem to have gotten much more aggressive in their sales pitch!
Regardless of the changes Petra is still a wonderful place to visit and should be on everyone’s bucket list. History buffs will love wondering thru the ancient building built into the cliff walls, hikers will enjoy walking thru the Siq (canyon leading to the site) and hiking up to the Monastery and other sites located higher up, and children will love exploring the caves and scrambling up stairs that have been carved on the cliff walls. I’m astounded that visitors are allowed so much freedom at the site.
My daughter and grandchildren enjoyed our day in Petra in spite of the heat and the long walk. Here are some of the things we saw.
For more in depth information about Petra read my post “Must See Highlights of Petra”.
My husband and grandson’s Dion and Devon at the Siq entrance.
Devon checking out the ancient water channels along the Siq walls.
In ancient times this channel brought water from the spring in nearby Wadi Musa to the city center of Petra.
My daughter and her son Jett walking down the sandy path in the Siq. Jett loved running around the Siq!
The boys scrambled up the stairs carved on the cliff walls of the Siq.
Dion and Devon getting that first glimpse of what lays at the end of the Siq.
Petra’s most famous structure, the “Treasury”. The kids loved walking around the camels. Jett spent most of the time running around the camels, he thought he was at a playground!
Tombs and other structures we saw as we walked thru the site.
The boys exploring the cave like structures in the site.
Here’s a video of our day in Petra from the park entrance and beyond.
We were exhausted after exploring the site on such a hot summer day, we ended up riding donkeys back to the Treasury area.
After a long hot day trekking thru the Siq and wandering the site we decided to hire carriages from the Treasury area to take us back to the entrance. It was a crazy ride thru the Siq, the kids loved it!
Back at the entrance we grabbed a couple of tables at one of the restaurants and sat down for some lunch and much needed rest.
The restaurants serve drinks, snacks, and Arabic food including falafels, shawarma, and kebobs. The food was ok, but very over priced. They do however have free wi-fi, just ask the waiter for the password.
Employees in guard costumes were very friendly. Many of them stopped by for a chat and to play with Jett.
During lunch we took turns exploring the souvenir shops around the restaurant. We ended up with a couple of plush camels and Khol pencils. We found the prices a bit higher than other shops in Jordan, but if you want something that says Petra the shops in this area have the best selections.
Our day it Petra was a lot of fun, it will definitely be remembered for years to come. The boys, Dion and Devon, had a great time and learned a few things about the ancient city as well. Petra is definitely a must do!