Petra Day Trip in a Photo

I had the chance to visit Petra specifically in a Day Trip tens of times (even hundreds of times, but I stopped counting long time ago), also I had the chance to stay in Wadi Mousa city (Petra city) for few days with my guests , and I had the chance as well to see much more than a tourist can see not just in a day trip to Petra, but even more than what tourists can see in several days


Petra love story, can be little bit complicated, but it won’t be at all if you are a nature lover, and you are a hiking lover , and it becomes more interesting if you’re a photographer ! but you may ask ! why so late as long as you had the chance to visit Petra many times ? and the answer might be very silly but this is the truth , On all my trips to day trip to Petra I was going with someone , for somebody , so this body was my concern and the presence of that body in Petra , truly to say , not Petra itself ,,, So I decided on this Special Day Trip tour to Petra , to Make it particularly for Petra , only for Petra itself , and I prepared myself one day before , Prepared my Camera and gear back , trip scenario , what I’m going to do ? where I’m going to walk ? what the things that I’m going to take photos of? Can I make both Videotaping and photos on  one day trip to Petra ? even I was there many times but I’m not sure that I’m going to make it in one day , even though , on some of my trips to Petra , I was able to visit the main three sites (The treasury , the Monastery , and taking the back way to the Area of Sacrifices ) and we are talking about 22 Kilometers of walking and climbing up something like 2000 stair steps in one day ( 6 – 8 hours ), but how long more is going to take , especially if we want to take care of the quality of the photos that I’m planning to shoot , and the spots that I’m going to focus on

Finally, on my Day Trip To Petra , I returned back with more than 600 photos , later I choose only 500 of those to publish on this article ,,, I m not sure how long my page can take , but for sure it all depends on that limit, worth mentioning that, this Day Trip to Petra tour was not like the other Day Tours that I use to take specially to Petra, cause this one was particularly for Petra , only for Petra ..


Taking the Back Way of Petra - Al-Hishah way

If you will have the chance to visit Petra in the future, remember my words to you, use the back way to Petra , through area called Al-Hisha , and what is interesting about this way is that it s going to take you from the back Mountains to the Front area of Petra , passing through the amazing mountains of Petra , and for sure you will pass just 100 meters from what is called "Little Petra" , so if you have the time you may stop by the Little Petra and have a walk on that site , it s so interesting , and usually my guests comment was that if this is the little Petra , what about Petra itself ....

Petra - History Background

"In the third century B.C., the Nabataeans made Petra the capital of their rich and powerful kingdom, filling it with spectacular buildings and carved facades, and making water flows to every corner of the kingdom". Today people living in Petra area live in modern stone and concrete constructed hillside villages, and Bedouin encampments. Remains of Palaeolithic campsites, together with flint artefact that are some forty to eighty thousand years old, have been found on the surrounding hills.

The first entry point to Petra would be through the visitor s center, where you should get the entry tickets from that center (Adult / non Jordanians should be 70US$ and it would be around 127 US$ if you are not spending at least one night in Jordan (passing through)..


Geography and Location

Petra lies on latitude 35 37` E and latitude 30 19` in the E desert of Jordan, 260 Km south of Amman and 133 km North of the Gulf of Aqaba , central to the main ancient trade routes south and North from Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula to Damascus. Petra has been a place for human habitation; the Pre-historic periods are well documented, as are the later Islamic periods. At the greatest extent during the first century A.D, the Nabataean kingdom encompassed the Transjordan region, as well as large areas of the southern Levant, the Sinai peninsula, the north western area of the Arabian peninsula, and sections of the Hauran region of southern Syria. This wide expanse of territory included diverse topographical settings and different ecosystems, ranging from the harsh desert of the Sinai, Arabia, and the Negev, to the fertile regions of the Great Rift Valley, Jordanian highlands, and numerous oases. This diversity in environments and resources helped permit the Nabataeans to engage in a great variety of subsistence and economic activities, including animal husbandry, agriculture, viticulture, and ceramic and metallurgical production, as well as other craft specializations.

In addition to this wealth of diverse natural resources, the territory of the Nabataean kingdom straddled many of the primary, overland trade routes of the time. This permitted the Nabataeans to gain control of the rich trade in aromatics and spices from southern Arabia, east Africa, and India, most of which had to travel by caravan across their territory to reach the Mediterranean markets. The Nabataean kingdom was ideally positioned to collect the main economic benefits from one of the most profitable commercial enterprises of the ancient world.

History of Petra

About thirteen thousand years ago, an early seasonal village was established at Beidha, just north of Petra. The site was rebuilt and occupied year-around by a group of Neolithic farmers in about 7000 B.C. In addition, the presence of mineral resources made the region important. Bitumen and copper were the first metals introduced to humankind, have been mined and marketed since the earliest times.

Nabataean Petra was founded 300 B.C.; the city start to expand and to be in development with later Roman administration of the city starting at A.D. 106; Byzantine invasion continued up to the 7th century A.D.

In the first millennium B.C., the Edomite rose to importance, during the 7th Century B.C., they built settlements, some of which were fortified in the mountains. The most notable of these are Umm al-Biyara and Tawilan, high above the Petra Basin. Subject to Assyria, Babylonia and then Persia, Edom became the center of an Arab state : "The Nabataean Kingdom"

The Nabataeans first appearance in the historical records was described by Diodorus, the Sicilian historian, who wrote in the first century B.C. In his description of the military campaigns launched by Antigonus against the Nabataeans, either to force them not to form an alliance with the Ptolemies, who were their main competitors in controlling the orient, or due to the desire of Antigonus himself to take hold of the sources of the Nabataeans‘ wealth. One of Diodorus‘ main sources was one of Alexander the Great officers, Hieronymus of Cardia, who was himself, involved in Antigonus‘ dealings with the Nabataeans and participated in Alexander‘s campaign as a historian.

Diodorus Siculus (1st Century) described the Nabataeans as an Arab people living in the region between Syria and Egypt. They were involved in the trade in incense and myrrh as well as exporting the asphalt thrown up from the Dead Sea; they were expert in the construction of underground cisterns. Diodorus described them as having the typical characteristics of a nomadic lifestyle in 312 B.C.

They didn‘t live in houses, and they used the strong rocks. Petra though un-walled as a refuge for their families and their goods. This account is the essential starting point for any investigation into the origins of the Nabataeans.

The exact origin of the Nabataeans remains difficult to understand. Most researchers and historians present early Nabataean history in terms of the area, not people. It is vital to discover where the Nabataeans thought their origin was, rather than where it actually was. There was no Nabataean written source mentions the origins of the Nabataeans, and without a written source about themselves it will be difficult to get an answer for the location of their home land.

Generally, it‘s an accepted fact that the Nabataeans were not Aramaeans and the facts suggest that they might have been Arabs. The Nabataeans spoke a form of Arabic although they used Aramaic for official correspondence. Whether their heartland south of the Dead Sea was their original homeland or whether they had migrated there from elsewhere are matters on which different views have been written.

The theory of continuity from Edomite (the previous occupants of much of the later area of the Nabataeans around Petra) to the Nabataeans was suggested earlier by several scholars. The first theory was suggested by Nelson Glueck, which focused on their original home in Mesopotamia. The evidence for this is the presence of a tribe called ―nbtw‖ or ―Nabatu‖, who are one of many rebellious groups mentioned in the Neo-Assyrian texts, most scholars discarded this theory because ―nbtw‖ in the texts mentioned differs from that of ―Nabati‖.

A second theory argues that the Nabataeans came from the southwest of the Arabian peninsula, known today as Yemen , some scholars in this respect , assumed that as the Nabataeans‘ skills in both water and architecture must have been learned in south Arabia, where urban civilization had flourished for many centuries, their origin must therefore be sought there. The argument against this is that the Nabataeans‘ language, script and gods have nothing in common with those of southern Arabia.

The third theory suggests North Arabia was the Nabataean homeland. There are two versions of this theory: the first proposed North East Arabia, Al-Hofuf, opposite the island of Bahrain; this view offers at least some solution to the confusing problem of their earlier homeland and immigration to Petra, by associating them with the earlier Nabayat residing at Sabu, based on a Palmyrene inscription where a ―God of Sabu‖ is termed ―The fortune god of the Nabataeans‖.


The second view of the third theory suggests the northwest Hijaz region of Saudi Arabia was their homeland.  This is based on considering the ethnic tribe (Qedarite) as lineage of the Nabataeans (Knauf 1986: 74-86). This view fails to explain the linguistic and cultural differences between the Nabataeans and the Qadarites.

There are several factors arising from this investigation of North Arabia, which suggest that the location of the Nabataeans was Northwest Arabia‖. None of these theories is conclusive and so far the origin of the Nabataeans is still difficult to understand.

Before the report of Hieronymus of Cardia preserved by Diodorus Siculus (1st century), it was difficult to prove scientifically the original background of the Nabataeans. Hieronymus had been at least in contact with people he thought of as Nabataeans and Arabs. His description reflects the situation in the late fourth century B.C. When the Nabataeans first arrived to Petra, and had not yet decided to settle their temporarily, probably they lived in a mixture of tents and houses.

Since there is no evidence for natural caves (neither Diodoros (1st Century) nor Strabo (64 B.C. -19 A.D.) mentioned caves), it is more probably that the Nabataeans later carved them. Hieronymus of Cardia sees Petra as an occasional refuge and market place rather than a permanent settlement.

This description throws light on the first contact since the end of the fourth century B.C. between the Nabataeans and the Macedonian rulers in Syria. Antigonus (The One Eyed), one of Alexander the Great s successors, sent Athenaeus and then his son Demetrius to take over Petra in 312 B.C.

During the third century B.C., the Ptolemies and the Seleucids were fighting over control of the Levant, the fight between them were more than just a conflict between two Hellenistic dynasties, the Seleucids‘ main interest remained concentrated on the west (Syria and Anatolia), but in addition to that; they made great efforts to maintain the eastern part of their empire, Mesopotamia and beyond, under their control. This rise of the Parthians , the nomadic people (The Parnes), from the middle of the third century B.C. onwards ruined the Seleucids efforts.


During the 3rd century B.C., the Nabataeans remained independent, they didn‘t act as a political force, but they were preparing for that. An inscription from Priene, dated to 129 B.C., mentions a local ambassador named Moschion son of Kydoimos, who undertook diplomatic missions in various parts of the Mediterranean world, including embassies to both Alexandria and to Petra . This source provides us with evidence of two important possible contacts with the Attalid kingdom, of which the Priene part was before 140 B.C.; the second was with the Ptolemies of Alexandria.

It is not clear why an ambassador from Priene was called in or by whom, or if he came to act as an independent negotiator. But he may have come to solve the problems of the piracy which were recorded briefly by Athenodoros. Athenodoros was Stoic(School of philosophy) in mindset, almost certainly the source of Strabo s diversion from the philosophy of his former mentors. From his own experiences he provided Strabo with information of regions of the empire that would eventually be incorporated in his Geography, specifically the cities of Tarsus, further south on Asia Minor than Strabo s Pontus, and Petra, just north of the Red Sea. Finally, Athenodoros noteworthy relationship with individuals of influence, including Cicero and the Roman Emperor, undoubtedly aided Strabo s integration into Roman high society.

It is probable that these problems appeared when the Ptolemies tried to avoid the Nabataeans by bringing goods to Alexandria through the sea route. If so, it would have been in Nabataean interest to upset this. This also may give an indication of the competition between the caravans of Petra and Alexandria in the second century B.C.

The Nabataeans Graves

The first graves used by the Nabataeans which can be dated to the fourth and third centuries B.C. were the Ditch Graves‖, usually rectangular, dug in the stone and seen virtually everywhere.

The Pit Tombs‖ are thought to be from a slightly later date and are subterranean funerary chambers which reached along a sort of conduit; the bodies of the dead were laid inside graves closed with slabs.

Very similar of these are the Dromos Tombs‖ or Rectilinear Tombs‖; in this case the pit is replaced by a horizontal passageway, the façade is smooth and the door framed with simple pilaster strips or the mere suggestion of an entablature. For more complex funerary monuments made an appearance in the second century B.C., and were known as Assyrian Tombs‖. The first of these were very simple, flat façade crowned with a single band of crow steps‖ motif patterns which opened a door, it could be also framed with half-columns; this type of tomb was a classically Nabataean version of models common in nearby Syria. afterward, a second band of crow steps was added above the first.

More sophisticated models developed over the next two centuries embracing Egyptian influences. In the meantime a particular type had been elaborated, called the Nabataean capital. The result of this evolution was the cavetto tomb‖, with a façade surmounted by a large curved cornice similar to Egyptian modeling‖ above which are just two monumental crow steps (they are also called Stepped Tombs).

The front is often enclosed between pilaster strips with Nabataean capitals and the door crowned with entablatures of varying complexity. An elegant transformation of the previous type is the double cornice tomb in which an additional classical cornice is introduced below the cavetto cornice .


The attic between the two cornices may be filled with short pilaster strips with Nabataean capitals, and the façade is usually marked with two or four pilaster strips that frame an elaborate doorway, often topped with pediment, tympanum and A Criterions.

In the second half of the first century B.C., Petra adopted architectural motifs from the Hellenized west on a wide scale (such as the Doric Frieze and the floral-Corinthian capital), probably introduced by artists from Alexandria.


The splendid Al-Khazneh belongs to this phase and was the first example of Nabataean classical style‖. From this point on, there was increasingly widespread use of structural elements for ornamental purposes, frequently placed one on top of the other, with disorganized results.

The provincial nature of the Nabataean art, developed in a region fairly distant from the Mediterranean basin, in the middle of the desert, justified the continued use of native and outdated elements of decoration, such as rosettes and Contra Rampant animals.

After the middle of the first century A.D., the extremely rich architectural figurative repertoire was joined by an unmistakable desire for scenic grandeur, and the rock façade reached colossal proportions, with orders of columns placed one above the other, imitating temple façades and theatrical backdrops. The Corinthian and palace tombs date from this period, while Al-Dier seems the fruits of an isolated attempt to assert the accomplished independence of Nabataean style from the Hellenistic formal language some pediment tombs, resembling the façade of the temple and exemplified by the Roman Soldier Tomb or the Wadi al-Nar Tomb, are in Roman Classical Style‖, subsequent to 106 A.D. (Rababeh 2005: 27).

The rock structures of Petra may seem to be the product of an incredible waste of energy but in many ways it is less demanding to dig a chamber in the sandstone than erect a similar structure because the walls and ceilings standup by themselves. Observation of the Unfinished Tomb‖ has revealed that the digging proceeded from the top downwards.

After constructing wooden scaffolding, the workers first squared and smoothed the rock face with hammers, chisels and saws, once the funerary chamber had been dug, the external surface was divided into squares with plumb lines and cords and the general outline of the various architectural divisions was marked. When all the parts in relief had been completed, the most important facades were probably given a thick layer of plaster as the fragile sandstone did not permit the execution of minute decorative detail (more to be explained in the Quarry Chapter)


Petra Day Trip - Bab Al-Siq

This area  is known traditionally as Bab el-Siq (Gate to the Siq in Arabic), so named by Petra’s Bedouin in inhabitants. This area contains several rock- hewn monuments and memorials, Including the distinctive tower tombs. Known as the Djinn Blocks, the rock-cut funerary complex of the ‘Obelisk Tomb and the Bab el-Siq Triclinium’.


This area traces a path that follows the course of the Wadi Musa (in Arabic Valley of Moses’), the meandering riverbed that flows from Ain Musa (Spring of Moses) into Petra. The Bedouin believe Ain Musa is the spring that gushed forth when Mo ses smote a rock in Biblical times. The valley was formed as a result of floodwater erosion and the Nabataeans carved water cisterns and channels to divert the water and channel it into Petra for their use. The Bab el-Siq terminates at the start off the chasm of the Siq.


Djinn Blocks - Petra Day Trip

Throughout Petra you will see freestanding cube shaped monuments which are known as djinn blocks “Jinn blocks” . Djinn’s is the name for a type of spirit that features in Arab folklore “and Muslims religion” , the name was adopted for these blocks as Petra’s Bedouin occupants believed these monuments were the dwellings of djinn which were thought to inhabit the area. Today  it is generally agreed that these monuments served as tombs and memorials to the dead.

In Bab el-Siq you can see three djinn blocks, and these are a total of 25 in Petra. The line drawings here are of djinn blocks as recorded by archaeologists in 1904. The first archaeologists to complete an inventory of tombs in Petra assigned a number to each and these are still used today Numbers 7,8 and 9 on the map seen here are the three djinn blocks before you.

If you look around the djinn blocks you will see a number of tombs and caves. Some of these tombs would have been for the poorer classes and are the earliest tombs carved in Petra (end of 2nd to beginning of 1st century B.C.


Obelisk Tomb and Bab el-Siq Triclinium (25-75 AD) - Petra Day Trip

Carved into the sandstone cliffs are two separate rock-cut monuments, set one above the other. The upper known as the “Obelisk Tomb”, is crowned with four elongated pyramids that represent nefesh Nabataean  signs commemorating the deceased. A central niche in the rock wall behind contains the worn sculpture of a cloak clad male figure. He represents the head of the family buried in the tomb chamber beneath, with its five rock –cut burial niches.

The gabled facade below the tomb marks the placement of a triclinium, a funerary dining hall with benches carved along three of its sides. Here, banquets where wine was served, were held in honor of a god or ancestor.

On the opposing cliff face is a double inscription in Nabataean and Greek that refers to a burial monuments erected by a man named Admanku. The presence of Greek writing bears testimony to the influence of Hellenic culture on cosmopolitan Petra.


Wadi Al Mudhlim - Petra Day Trip in a Photo

The gorge in front of you has been widened by the flow of water. While today there is only water here during flash floods, it is likely that once a stream flowed through Wadi Mudhlim, providing water to Nymphaeum in the city center to supplement water arriving there from canalization system through the Siq. Wadi Mudhlim was altered in the first century BC by the construction of a massive tunnel channeled the flesh floods of ancient time away from the Siq, which was the formal entrance to the city.

In Wadi Mudhlim is sadd Al ma’jin a natural rotunda that is carved with many votive niches as seen in the insets. Water from the Wadi Mudhlim flowed through the Wadi Mataha, passing below the tomb of sextius florentinus, and rejoined Wadi Musa at the Nymphaeum in the city center.

The Siq - Petra Day Trip in a photo

You are walking through the Siq, a natural sandstone gorge that gently winds towards the ancient city of Petra for just over 2km until it opens onto the magnificent Treasury, A triumphal arch once spanned the entrance to the Siq, but this collapsed in 1895.

On either side of the arch there were niches where busts of the king or emperor were placed. As you walk through, notice two water channels that run along each side; these held clay pipes that carried fresh water to the city from springs. Petra was a bustling city that witnessed a constant procession of travelers, visitors and pilgrims, who passed along the same path you are on now. Keep your eyes open for the niches and god blocks (baetyls) carved throughout the Siq, which were there to protect those entering and leaving the city.


Modern barrage dam across Siq

When the Nabateans first settled in Petra and started building houses they found that needed to protect themselves from the flash floods of the area. They also needed a year-round supply of water for their own use, Therefore to control flood waters, a dam was built across the mouth of the Siq in the 1st  century BC, along with basins to hold water and an 82 –meter long rock cut tunnel, which redirected water through Wadi Mudhlim to reservoirs water cisterns and dams inside and outside Petra.

The dam you see today was constructed in 1964 over the original Nabataean one, which was larger to prevent a recurrence of a tragic flash flood that had earlier swept through the Siq.

The illustration shows a hypothetical depiction of the ancient dam. Towards the end of Wadi Mudhlim there are niches that probably held baetyls, or god block to protect the water, which was sacred to the Nabateans .

Paved Road - Petra Day Trip

Many remnants of Nabataean history can be seen inside the Siq. Among these are the Paved Road, Sabinos Alexandros station and Nabateans baetyls (sacred stone blocks often set in niches, as seen in the inset).

The Paved Road in the Siq was originally constructed by the Nabateans, possibly towards the end of the first century B.C.  The paving as much as the baetyls, reflects the formal and possibly ritual use, of the Siq as an entrance to the city. Limestone was used for the paving and portions of that road still exist below what you see here.

Sabinos Alexandros Station - Petra Day Trip in a Photo

This set of baetyls, or sacred stone blocks, were the work of a person named Sabinos, who was the master of religious ceremonies to honor Dusares at Adraa (today Dar a in Syria).

He and other masters visited Petra to honor Dushara here as well (in 2nd or 3rd century AD). The two main niches depict the domed baetyl of Dussehra from Adraa (right) and another deity, Atargatis on two lions (left)

Camel Caravan Reliefs /100-50 BC - Petra Day Trip

In front of you is a monumental relief about the third larger than life, which depicts an actual caravan in procession. It consists of a group of camels and drivers entering Petra. About ten meters further up, there is a similar carving of a caravan leaving Petra, but this is more eroded. These carvings symbolize the endless procession of people and goods entering and leaving Petra, the economy of which was based on caravan trade. The first camel in this procession has a high hump indicating that it is a caravan

carrying goods. Close inspection of the upper group reveals that the lead driver whose figure is preserved from the waist down is clad in a loosely, pleated cloth garment of wool. He holds a stick in his bent left arm with which to guide the animals.

The Treasury (Khazneh)

The best-known of the monuments at Petra, the treasury (Khazneh) is also the first to greet the visitor arriving via the Siq (The main entrance to archaeological site of Petra). It is one of the most beautiful, famous and amazing monument in Petra. The Khazneh is the Arabic name for the “Treasury”; it comes from the legend that it was used as a hiding place for treasure. It seems to be generally agreed now that the Khazneh was built as a tomb for one of the Nabataeans kings (mainly Aretas III) in the first century BC. It is about 40 meters high and 28 meters wide. The Khazneh faces onto a large open space, floored with soft sand and surrounded by high walls.

The Treasury (Khazneh)

The Khazneh façade has composed of two floors. The first floor, which has a gate leading to major hall with a small room in each side, is supported by six columns with carved statues between them representing the horsemen, sons of god Zeus. While the upper story include a central tholos surrounded by columns and flanked by two pavilions with a broken pediments on top . It is certainly true that the architectural models in the Khazneh monuments are really a fascinating feature, because they contain the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian styles as well as the Nabataean at the same time.

The Treasury (Khazneh) - Petra

One of the earliest conservation projects in Petra is the repaired of the third pillar of the Treasury building in 1958. United State Agency for International development (USAID) funded this project. The project succeeds in restore and enhances the view of the most attractive monument in by reconstruct the third column of the monument. However, it is hardly to notice this column from the others columns, especially if you did  not know the conservation background of the site. Also, unfortunately, in the site there are no signs or boards that describe the conservation work in this site, or even just a brief mention of it. It is worthwhile to remember that the reconstitution of this column took place in 1958, which is before the Venice Charter 1964 or the Nara document on authenticity 1994. However, one can say that mentioned project did adhered the principles of Athens Charter for restoration of historical Monuments (1931), where its emphases were based in the aesthetic appearance of the monuments. From the author s point of view, the conserving of third column of the treasury is a part of the site history in these days and the project achievements should be appreciated, since the work had been simply documented and the its work carried out with highly accuracy. In contrast, the project did not take in consideration many modern conservation principles such as the minimal intervention and the authenticity of the place. The procedure of a comprehensive inventory of the monument at this time could not only provide us in accurate reference date, but also in detecting the main threats to site and in the ways how to protect such  unique heritage site.

The treasury or ‘AL-Khazna’ in Arabic, is the most spectacular monument carved by the Nabataean. It stands an imposing 39.5 m high and is impressively carved out of a single block. The monuments name comes from a local Bedouin legend that pharaoh hid a treasure in the urn at the top, and you can see bullet holes from shooting at the urn to try to retrieve this treasure.


In reality the treasury  or ‘AL-Khazna’ is a mausoleum and would have been used for funerary purposes; many archaeologists believe it is the mausoleum of King Aretas IV (9 BC- 40 AD). The Nabataeans decorated the façade of their tombs with funerary designs and symbols related to the afterlife and death.


The façade of the treasury reveals a Hellenistic influence, with six Corinthian capitals topped by a frieze of winged griffins and vases among scrolls. In the center of the façade is the goddess. Isis and she is surrounded by dancing amazons (female warriors) with axes over their heads. At the top of the steps just before you enter the chamber, there are circular holes in the floor which were most probably used for sacrifices.


Priest would enter the chamber and conduct their rituals. In 2004 three Nabataeans tombs were uncovered below the khazna, which date to the end of the first century BC and have been identified as royal tombs.


Tomb 67/ 200 BC-200 AD - Petra Day Trip

This tomb is remarkable for its upper doorway, which is decorated with a Hellenic pediment. Some call it the “thief tomb” according to a story told by the local Bedouin that a thief took refuge in this …. For a period of time.

A water channel of the Roman-Byzantine period closed the lower entrance to the tomb. In 1998,excavations by the Department of Antiquities discovered that the section of the channel that was across the door was found to be partially –removed, possibly by tomb robbers or due to flash floods.

These excavations also revealed 20 pyramidal funerary stelae (nefesh)outside the tomb. One of them is inscribed with the Nabataean name “Amliou”

Street of Facades / 50 BC-50 AD

This area in front of you has been dubbed the ‘Street of Facades’ after its rock –cut tombs, which are neatly arranged in ascending street –like rows along the cliff face. The tombs are fairly homogenous in  type and appearance, with vertical facades featuring crow-stepped attics and simple rectangular entrance. The design style is said to be Assyrian, based on the similarity of the tombs’ stepped designs to Mesopotamian architecture dating to the seventh and sixth centuries BC. Shown here are Assyrian structures constructed in 713 BC for Sargon ll of Assyria .

What is interesting in Petra is that the different styles overlap and merge gradually from tomb to tomb, indicating hoe Nabataeans drew from different influences in their architecture design, including Assyrian, Hellenistic and Roman.


Tomb 825 -  First Century AD - Petra Day Tour

This was a family tomb that contains 17 shaft tombs. Each shaft is comprised of two levels; one person would be buried and then a separating slab inserted so that another person could be buried on top. Inside there is an inscription on the left wall that attributes the tomb to the Nabataean family of Zayd Qawmw bin Yaqub. If you examine the walls closely, you would spot some obelisk shapes carved into the rock. These are what the Nabataeans called ‘nefesh’ and they usually represent the souls of the deceased. Hence, you will see obelisks used throughout Petra.

This façade is interesting because it shows how resourceful the Nabataeans were in their construction. Notice the column carved out of the rock on the right side, and the pediment above the door. This style of column is typically Nabataean. The façade is stopped by side half Assyrian crow steps and an Egyptian cavetto. On the left side of the façade, there is a groove in place of the column and part of the pediment, it seems the rock on this side was weaker and instead of carving out of the rock, carved stone insets were inserted in the grooves to mirror the right side.


The Main Theater/25-125 AD - Petra

Although Petra s theater is Graeco-Roman in design, the complex originated with the Nabataeans,. The theater may date to the early first century AD, during the reign of king Aretas iV, when Petra s urban character took shape. It consists of an auditorium with a semicircular orchestra and an ascending horseshoe-shaped seating area with vertical stairway divided into three levels by horizontal passageway. It also featured a stage wall, added by the Romans which shielded the orchestra and served as a theatrical backdrop.

The theater is striking in that it is hewn directly from the rock in one piece. It seems the Nabataeans were in such great need of an assembly area they had to destroy some facades that were there before, as the cliff face preserves the remains of earlier tomb complexes that had been carved away to create the auditorium s rear wall. In the absence of documentation, we can only guess at the many kinds of events that may have been held there.

If Petra was a pilgrimage destination, the theater could have been used for pilgrims to assemble and conduct their rituals; there was an altar in the orchestra that may have been linked to this. Later, during Roman times, it may have hosted theatrical and musical performances, poetry readings, athletic matches, and public meetings. The theater seated 6,000 people and it has been partially restored.


The tomb of ‘Unayshu (No.813)/ Second half of First Century AD

This beautiful façade fronts a tomb that has been named after the minister of Queen Shaqilat ll, wife of king Maliku ll, after an inscription naming Unayshu was discovered there in the 19th century. Queen Shaqilat ll assumed the throne when it fell to her son, who was still a minor. She ruled in his place for six years, from AD 70 to 76, until he could take over as king Rabbel ll.

The corner pilasters of the tomb, and those flanking the entrance are a typical Nabataean design. The smooth façade is in the same style as the tombs found in Mada’in Saleh – a Nabataean city in north Saudi Arabia. The tomb contains eleven burial niches carved into the walls and a triclinium with benches carved out of the rock and three niches in the back wall. Triclinium were used during religious festivals and holidays to hold ritual forums and dinners.

Inscription bearing the names of King Maliku ll and his wife Queen Shaqilat ll were found in this tomb. Nabataean women held important positions in society and had right of ownership, inheritance and bequest of inheritance as well as running their affairs without male guardians. Their queens were often depicted on coins together with the kings as shown in the photograph in front of you.


Urn Tomb/ 40-75 AD

Like its neighbors, the elegant Um Tomb is cut deeply into the cliff face at the base of the khuntha Ridge, its lofty vertical façade terminates in a pediment topped by an urn-shaped ornament that gives it its name. You may also hear it referred to as ‘Al Mahkama’ (‘the Court’), a name originating from the local Bedouin who believed it was used as a courthouse and that the vaults downstairs were prisons. It is actually a Nabataean tomb. Above the tomb’s entrance is a central burial cell (or ‘loculus’), which would have held the body of the person to whom the tomb was dedicated. He is immortalized by a portrait bust that adorns the stone panel used to seal the burial. The two other excavated grave loculi in the façade may have been used for the burial of spouses or close family members.

The Urn Tomb complex, with its deep courtyard flanked by colonnaded porticos, faces directly toward Petra’s main temple, Qasr al-Bint . The tomb’s pivotal location and grand scale suggest that its owner was a Nabataean king; its spacious interior boasts a vast internal chamber 17 meters deep with four burial loculi in its rear wall. The two central recesses were re-carved in the form of an apse when the.

Royal Tombs /60 BC-50 AD

Four grand tombs on the khubtha Ridge overlook Petra’s city center. Their elaborate architecture and prominent locations suggest that they held families from Petra’s uppermost social striatum of royalty. As these prominent monuments have no inscription to identify them, they have been given monikers based on their characteristic features from right to left; they are the Um Tomb, Silk tomb, Corinthian Tomb And Palace Tomb. The Um Tomb derived its name from the funerary urn located on the pediment at the top of the façade. Set back in a deep recess in the khubtha slope, the silk Tomb is the smallest of the four and has drawn acclaim for the brilliant banded coloring of its sandstone façade. Beyond it is the so –called Corinthian Tomb, named for the Greek Corinthian style capitals of its upper story, which is closely patterned after the Khazna. Alongside it is the largest and most elaborate of all of Petra’s rock-cut monuments, the Palace Tomb so named because its exterior is thought to reflect the actual façade of a Hellenistic on Roman period palace. Like its Corinthian neighbor, this multi-stoned tomb features four entrances each in reality opening onto a separate funerary chamber.

While Romans and Byzantines built walls to separate the dead from the living the Nabataeans used gardens. Therefore these tombs overlooked the city directly with terraces gardens separating the necropolis from the living city instead of a wall. There is a flat area to the left of the Corinthian tomb where there would have been waterfalls. There is also a large water system above the Royal Tombs, probably to supply water for houses and to irrigate the terraced gardens, which would have been in front of the tombs.


The ‘Great Temple’ Complex /25 BC -100AD

Occupying an area of 7560 square meters, the ‘Great Temple’ complex is by far the largest building in Petra. Accessed by a monumental entryway or propylaeum, it featured two successive open-air areas at different elevations.. The lower precinct consisted of a spacious paved courtyard flanked on each side by triple colonnade. Each held 60 columns assembled from carved drums, because capitals of imported limestone with carved elephant head, exotic symbols of power. A number have been partially re-erected.

Excavations have revealed that the upper precinct accessed by a pair of monumental stairways featured   a small open-air theater with semi-circular tiered seating. Its small size and layout suggest that it may have been designed as a council chamber or a judicial assembly hall. The presence of this theater and the adjoining columned courtyard suggests that the building served primarily as a civic complex under the patronage of the Nabataean royal house. The structure’s downtown  location outside the Qasr al-Bint temple precinct points strongly to its secular function, although activities may also taken place in this grand complex.

Other features of the Greek Temple Complex are a subterranean drainage system, and baths, which were uncovered in the west of the temple and a workshop for producing plaster molds, found at the south end.


Qasr al-Bint Temple Complex

Qasr  bint farun ( Palace of the pharaohs’ Daughter )  is Petra’s oldest and most venerable temple complex  its name derives from local legend that the same pharaoh who hid his treasure in the urn of the Treasury promised his daughter s hand in marriage to the engineer who could develop a system to bring water to the palace . several water channels have been found near it .

The monument is almost square and is set on a podium . it was the main temple of Petra and is still stands to a height of 23m Qasr al – bint is a typical Hellenistic temple where only priests could enter inside and worshippers remained outside in the open temenos, or holy area , where they may have offered animal sacrifices it is approached by a flight of 26 marble steps , and four stucco – covered Corinthian columns between   pilasters decorated the northern faced . inside the temple at the rear  of the sanctuary there are three compartments the middle one protects an altar platform that housed images of the deity , and the two others were supplied with balcony terraces it is believed that this temple was dedicated to Dushara , the main Nabataean god   .

The temple is dated to the first half of the 1st century AD and it is possible that it was pilgrim destinations.

Hills have eyes , you can see same photo with higher resolution on our Photos Gallery - Petra Day Trip in a photo category

Donkeys can be the only way to reach the Monastery - Petra for some people , climbing a 900 stair step for 2 kilometer of walking can be a nightmare for some people.

Ad-Dayr "The Monastery"  /85BC-110AD

Deeply carved into a cliff face of the jabal al – dayr , the façade traditionally known as “ the monastery "  represents one of the largest monuments in Petra measuring 47m wide by 51 m high . it  was built on the model of the khazna , but here the bas- reliefs are replaced by niches to house sculptures .

Originally , the court in front of the faced was enclosed by a columned portico the interior is occupied by two side benches and an altar agents the rear wall .

It was probably used as a biclinium for the meetings of religious association and certain rituals may have been conducted there. Its construction likely dates to the early 2nd century AD, during the reign of king rabbel ll  , and an inscription found nearby suggests that it may have been built in memory of the divine king Obodas ll  .

The hall was re-used as a Chastain chapel and crosses were carved in the rear wall , thus name  "Monastery (Dayr  in Arabic )  this hypothetical  re – construction shows a colored portico in front of ad – Dayr .


Room No. 468/200BC-200AD

This lies on a hill opposite to AD-Dayr and overlooks its courtyard. In the near wall of the chamber is an idol niche, which is one of the most finely –carved examples in Petra. The niche is surmounted by a pediment and farmed by double pilasters.

Its original geometric decoration is today partially obscured by many layers of graffiti. The photo shows a hypothetical reconstruction of the architecture of room NO. 468.

Another photo to the Monastery - Ad Dayr from the top of one of the highest hills on the area


Tomb of Prophet Harun

The white building on top of this mountain is believed to house the tomb of Harun (upon him be peace) who was the brother of Musa (upon him be peace). It is situated on top of Mount Hor, close to the valley of Petra. It was built in the 13th century, by the Mamluk Sultan Al Nasir Mohammad.

And Its my report

As I promised , Petra Day Trip in a photo will cover almost all parts , all spots in Petra , but this is not done yet , another part will include the missing parts from this report , like Area of Sacrifice and and back side of Petra itself ...