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The caves, temples, and tombs of Petra reveal an impressive civilization.

DISCOVER THE RAW BEAUTY OF PETRA

The “Rose City” is a honeycomb of hand-hewn caves, temples, and tombs carved from blushing pink sandstone in the high desert of Jordan some 2,000 years ago. Hidden by time and shifting sand, Petra tells of a lost civilization. Little is known about the Nabateans—a nomadic desert people whose kingdom rose up from these cliffs and peaks, and whose incredible wealth grew from the lucrative incense trade.

Raqmu, or Petra (as the Greeks knew it), grew into the Nabateans’ most prominent city, linking camel caravans between the Mediterranean and Arabian Seas, from Egypt to Syria and beyond to Greece. Control of water sources and an almost magic ability to vanish into the cleft rocks ensured the Nabateans remained unconquered for centuries.

The Romans arrived in 63 B.C., signaling a new era of massive expansion and grandiose construction, like the theater that sat more than 6,000 spectators, as well as some of the city’s most impressive facades. Carved into the rock face, the Treasury and the Monastery both have unmistakable Hellenistic features, with ornate Corinthian columns, bas-relief Amazons, and fanciful acroteria. Knowing that such architectural feats were achieved by carving from the top down makes it even more impressive.

Petra’s engineering phenomena are legion, including the sophisticated water system that supported some 30,000 inhabitants. Carved into the twisted passageway of the Siq, the irrigation channel drops only 12 feet over the course of a mile, while underground cisterns stored runoff to be used in drier times of the year.

And yet it’s the raw beauty of Petra that draws in so many millions of visitors—the entire city of ruins is a work of art, painted on a natural stone backdrop that changes color every hour. The elegant Silk Tomb swirls with streaks of red, blue, and ocher, while vivid mosaics still pave the floors of a Byzantine-era church.

Christianity came to Petra in the third and fourth centuries and flourished, but the city waned after an A.D. 336 earthquake and under the early Islamic dynasties of the seventh century.

Petra was only rediscovered by Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt in 1812, and it continues to spill its secrets. Even now, archaeologists have explored less than half of the sprawling site, and in 2016, with the help of satellite imagery, a monumental structure was found still buried in the sand. It’s no wonder that Petra remains Jordan’s top tourist attraction and one of the most revered of the World Heritage sites.

How to Get There

Petra is a three-hour drive from Amman and two hours from the Red Sea port of Aqaba. Buses run the route daily, along with organized tours and private taxis. The Jordan Trail passes through Petra, allowing hikers to connect with Dana or Wadi Rum.

How to Visit  

Reducing Petra to a single day trip is a common mistake. Remember that Petra spreads out for over a hundred square miles—four times the size of Manhattan. While donkeys, camels, and horse buggies can hasten travel time between highlights, most of Petra’s sites are best reached on foot. Come ready to hike some steep terrain.

Spend at least one night in town, and plan your sightseeing as a series of hikes. Petra’s licensed guides have exceptional knowledge and will add a deeper dimension to your visit by showing you secret tombs and hidden details you would never find on your own. Don’t miss the “Petra by night” show that delivers a haunting and unforgettable visual.

When to Visit

Petra is open year-round, so choose your own adventure: Spring and fall offer the most temperate weather, with fantastic light. Summer is beautiful but can turn unbearably hot. January and February are the coolest months, with the occasional downpour. Remember the high elevation means nights are cold. Sunrise and sunset are when Petra truly glows with changing color, so come early and stay late.

 

Source: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

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Charred remains of a flatbread baked about 14,500 years ago in a stone fireplace at a site in northeastern Jordan have given researchers a delectable surprise: people began making bread, a vital staple food, millennia before they developed agriculture.

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Tomb 70 in Petra represents an impressive, freestanding monolith structure that rises up to 15 metres and expands to 8-metres wide, an expert said."It is one of very few tombs in Petra with freestanding crenulations a low wall between chest-height and head-height a top the structure,

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Sun seekers have a new option for the coming winter, as easyJet launches the first nonstop scheduled link from the UK to Aqaba in Jordan.

The maiden flight from Gatwick to the resort takes off on 10 November. The once-a-week link will also provide access to the ancient city of Petra and the desert landscapes of Wadi Rum. 

Jordan’s minister of tourism and antiquities, Lina Annab, said: “This collaboration will contribute towards increasing the number of tourists to Jordan’s ‘Golden Triangle’ – Aqaba, Petra and Wadi Rum – and we’re working together to increase the number of routes into Aqaba with easyJet over the next few years.”

The airline is hoping the link to Aqaba will prove more successful than flights to the Jordanian capital, Amman. That route was closed in 2014 due to heavy losses.

In a bid to secure some of the “Santa Claus” market, easyJet is also launching two flights a week from Gatwick to Rovaneimi in Finnish Lapland on 31 October.

The city straddles the Arctic Circle and has established itself as favourite Yuletide destination for British families. “Santa Park”, a collection of man-made caverns filled with festive attractions, is located in Rovaniemi’s municipal bomb shelter. 

The city is also home to the Arktikum Museum, dedicated to the story of Lapland. 

With dwindling options for new destinations in Europe, easyJet is also launching links in competition against rival budget carriers.

Poland has long been an aviation battleground between Ryanair and the Eastern European carrier, Wizz Air. Now easyJet is launching a route from Gatwick to Warsaw.

The four-times-a-week link will be the only flight from the Sussex airport to the Polish capital, but is in competition against frequent departures on Wizz Air from Luton, and British Airways and LOT from Heathrow.

In France, where easyJet is in second place to Air France, the budget airline is stepping up competition with the French national carrier. It is launching a link from Paris to Pau in the Pyrenees, previously an Air France monopoly.

Source: www.independent.co.uk

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The number of visitors to Petra in the first half of 2018 increased by 45 per cent compared with the same period of last year, an official said. Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority Chief Commissioner Falah Al Omoush said that 322,579 foreign and 65,492 Arab and Jordanian visitors visited the ancient city of Petra in the first six months of this year.

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The number of tourists to Petra in July increased by 29 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA).

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Despite its international recognition, the Baptism Site on the eastern side of the Jordan River receives “way fewer” visitors than the one located in the occupied West Bank, experts said. Jordan’s Baptism Site “Bethany Beyond Jordan” has been authenticated as the place where Jesus Christ was baptised, based on historical accounts of ancient pilgrims who documented their visits, the New Testament and archaeological findings and buildings, according to archaeologists. 

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AMMAN — Jordan has climbed four spots in the 2018 Global Peace Index (GPI) ranking as the 98th most peaceful country in the world.AMMAN — Jordan has climbed four spots in the 2018 Global Peace Index (GPI) ranking as the 98th most peaceful country in the world.
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The Majd Initiative on Friday organised a trip to the ancient city of Petra to fulfill dreams of a number of persons with disabilities to see the red-rose city and promote accessible tourism. The initiative was established by Abdul Rahman Salameh and named "Majd" after a girl with a physical disability who was refused admission to school, and later died during a surgery to treat her disability.

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