‘Pilgrim of Petra’ Visits Site for 62nd Time in 25 Years
AMMAN — “If you call me John Tyler in Petra, locals will not know me, while, if you say John Nawafleh [a local tribe’s name], everyone will know me,” John Tyler told The Jordan Times in a phone interview on Thursday.
John Tyler a UK national in his 80s, has visited the ancient city of Petra 62 times since 1993.
As people are usually hesitant to visit the Middle East because regional events, Tyler has never been reluctant to pay visits to the rose-red city, 230km south of Amman.
“I wish people in the UK believed it was perfectly safe in Jordan. You are safer in Jordan than you would be in London,” said the traveller.
He did not stop coming to Jordan even during the peak of the Syrian crisis.
Tyler read about Petra for the first time when he was 12 years old, but he waited 50 years to come as he had to look after his mother.
When asked why he had visited so many times, his answer was “I do not know, I have never been interested in visiting other famous sites and wonders of the world.”
He said his favorite part of Petra is the Mughar Al Nasara (Christian Caves), for the unique colours of the rocks, adding that “where else in the world could you see that”.
The “pilgrim of Petra” has been all over Petra including the Treasury, the Monastery, the walls and Jabal Haroun.
Naeem Nawafleh, Tyler’s guide, said that had has been visited Petra up to three times a year and would enter the site two times a day. Tyler has even built up a relationship with the locals.
The Petra Development Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) recently hosted Tyler and honoured him with a present in appreciation of his frequent visits.
PDTRA’s acting chairman of the board of commissioners Sulaiman Al Farajat said that the authority does not consider him as an ordinary tourist and provides him with all the facilities when he visits the city.
Frajat said he appreciated the members of the local community who had built friendly relationships with tourists, pointing out that community is an important part of tourism and the images visitors carry with them when they leave Petra.