Just Returned From → Dead Sea, Jordan. Headed To → Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario.

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Pictures From Petra: An Incredible Journey

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Petra has captured the world’s imagination for centuries—and it more than lives up to the hype.

In This Petra Photo Essay You Will Discover:

  • Tips for visiting this Wonder of the World
  • Little-Known facts about Petra
  • The best way to hike it
  • And more!

Shortly before my 11thbirthday, I watched the movie Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade. It remains my favourite of the franchise—but one scene stuck out above the others.

The part where the guy gets run over by the tank.

Oh, and also the first look at the home of the Holy Grail—a place I’d find out was actually real, some 10 years later in a university art history class, located in Jordan and called “Petra.” (Or more specifically, “the Treasury” in Petra.)

I was in awe that my professor had actually visited this 2,000-year-old wonder. At the time, I thought a second-hand description would be as close as I’d come to the famous Treasury, the seminal structure in that ancient city.

Leap forward in time a couple more decades and I’m standing at the foot of the Treasury in simple awe.

And this was after hiking through the backdoor. My first glimpse of Petra was the Monastery, every bit as impressive as the Treasury, then followed by a previously unknown-to-me menagerie of ruins expanding through 200 square-kilometres of desert environ.

Beyond the more famous structures, Petra hides a ruin around every corner. You actually tread across ancient stepstones and broken earthenware. The access to many of these ancient wonders is unparelled—I was able to step inside and get hands-on with tucked away tombs and shrines.

I’ll be writing in-depth about my hike through Petra in the Winter issue print of explore magazine. Until then, check out these images of this wonder… as well as four things that I didn’t expect about my visit to Petra:

  • It’s huge. As mentioned, the area covers some 200 square-kilometres. You can get a quickie overview in a day of steady hiking, but for a more comprehensive look, spend two days. A full exploration will take four to five sweaty days.
  • While entrance to the Treasury and the Monastery is forbidden (except under rare ciscumstances), the access to many of the ruins is extraordinary. They’re not hidden behind velvet ropes—they’re part of the environment, open for up close exploration.
  • You won’t go hungry or thirsty. For better or for worse, Petra features a series of concession stands, coffee shacks, souvenir hawkers and even a full-service restaurant.
  • Go backwards. A tip more than a surprise, we hiked in the “backdoor,” which requires advance purchase of your pass and a guided shuttle—but offers early access to the Monastery as well as a stunning canyon hike into the park.

Let’s explore Petra in pictures, starting from the Backdoor and walking through:

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Scenes from the film “The Martian” were shot in this area. Easy to see why.

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Hiking in via the “backdoor.” A must, in my opinion.

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Our intrepid guide, Khalid, showed us the “secret” way into Petra.

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First glimpse—the incredible Monastery. Wow.

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Beyond the ruins, the red rock canyons were also stunning.

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A hidden gem everywhere you look…

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It’s a long, hot hike. But so worth it.

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Access is practically unbounded—like the Lions Triclinium. You can go right in!

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In the centre of Petra, we uncover the Qasr al-Bint.

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The Theatre, one of many impressive ruins.

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Imagine life here 2,000 years ago? Incredibly advanced for the time.

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Walking through the Street of Facades.

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Tired? Donkeys and camels are for-hire.

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The Treasury. When you hike in the backdoor, you save the best for last.

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Ever been underwhelmed by a famous landmark? No worries of that happening here.

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Bonus: Nearby Little Petra is also worth a visit—but go before you visit the Big Brother. Save the best for last.

About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

3 comments… add one
  • Elyn Mckenzie Jul 3, 2018

    I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Petra, but after reading your blog, I’m feeling inspired to! The views look amazing. Where we live in the UK, it’s flat, so we have to travel if we want to do some serious hiking. We’ve hiked in some gorgeous places. We travelled to St Lucia last year and did the Gros Piton Trail – a tough climb, but totally worth it.

  • Laura Jul 1, 2018

    Mindblowing and Amazing Places 🙂 Love to knowing the place around the world 🙂

  • What a awesome post and pictures you captured in your travel trip. Thank you so much for sharing this post and experiences.

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