Depart early in the morning and head to the Red Rose City of Petra for a day of exploration. Thought to date back to as early as 300 BC, this unique archaeological site was once the ancient capital of the Nabataean civilization and a major crossroad of silk and spice trade routes between Arabia and Asia. Surrounded by mountains twisted with passageways and gorges Petra was all but lost to the modern world until it was rediscovered in the early 19th century. Since this rediscovery the city has been proclaimed one of the worldâ€™s richest and largest archaeological sites, and the pearl in Jordanâ€™s crown, attracting throngs of curious travellers every year.
Hidden deep within a valley the city is accessed via a narrow canyon passageway with walls towering up hundreds of metres on either side, known as the Siq, which can be walked by foot or on horseback (book locally). At the end of the passageway stands the magnificent facade of The Treasury, carved deep into the rock face. The entire city is made up of traditional Nabataean buildings carved into the sandstone cliffs, and unique free standing buildings. Standing 40 metres tall The Treasury is carved right into the mountain side and its ornate Hellenistic-style facade features grand columns and intricate sculptural decoration. One of Petraâ€™s largest and most iconic monuments can be found at the top of a steep sandstone trail. With dozens of monuments and carvings The Monastery is worth the climb, and its position above the city means it has magnificent views over the city and desert below. Plus check out the impressive 1st century AD theatre, carved almost entirely out of rock and thought to be able to hold up to 8,000 spectators, and the numerous temples and tombs dotted around the site.