Discover the Lost City of Petra

Explore carved monuments, royal tombs and natural wonders on a journey through Jordan’s mysterious ancient city.

Dec 2, 2014
  • Siq gorge in Petra, Jordan
  • Desert view of Petra, Jordan
  • The Treasury in Petra, Jordan
  • Mosaic detail in Petra, Jordan
  • The Monastery in Petra, Jordan
  • The Treasury at night in Petra, Jordan
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The entrance to Petra rests at the end of the Siq, a narrow gorge surrounded by stone cliffs. Reaching 80 metres (263 feet) high, these striking walls kept the city hidden for more than five centuries.
Photography courtesy The JordanTourism Board
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Originally a gathering site for Nabataean traders, Petra soon evolved into an international hub of culture and commerce. The Nabataeans’ keen knowledge of the desert and strategically placed settlements that provided water and shelter—which they shared with foreign traders in exchange for toll fees and customs taxes—helped establish the city as an important crossroads of trade.
Photography courtesy The JordanTourism Board
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After travelling through the 1.5-kilometre Siq, your first dramatic glimpse of Petra is of the building known as the Treasury (Al-Khazneh). Standing 43 metres (141 feet) high and carved out of solid rock, this awe-inspiring edifice was most likely built in the first century BC; it is generally believed to have served as a royal tomb or temple rather than a treasury.
Photography courtesy The JordanTourism Board
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Petra Church and its intricate mosaic detail can be traced back roughly 15 centuries to the city’s time under Byzantine rule. Discovered in 1990, the church is one of the site’s most recently excavated finds.
Photography courtesy The JordanTourism Board
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Part of Petra’s preservation is due to the fact that many of its main structures were carved out of the mountainsides. Dating back to Nabataean rule, about 2,000 years ago, the impressive Monastery (Ad-Deir) towers 45 metres (148 feet) tall.
Photography courtesy The JordanTourism Board
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Standing before the Treasury’s façade, you can’t help but marvel at the care that went into the detailed decoration of the columns. Even though some of the sculptures are naturally weathered, the majesty of this once great city is still evident in ruins such as this.
Photography courtesy The JordanTourism Board

Unmarked on modern maps and unseen by outsiders for more than 500 years, ancient Petra was rediscovered in the 19th century, fuelling much wonder and excitement about the lost city’s mysterious past. The remains of this once-flourishing trade centre, named one of the New7Wonders of the World, are now among Jordan’s most spectacular sites. As archaeologists continue to uncover the city’s secrets, Petra’s spectacular history—from its Nabataean origins to its Roman and later Byzantine rule—is revealed to adventurers and history buffs alike.

The idea of finding a lost city has fascinated humans for centuries, and walking down the winding Siq that leads into Petra will make you feel as though you are somehow discovering it for yourself. As you approach through the narrow gorge, catch glimpses of carved monuments that prove to be truly grand in scope. Just a few hours’ drive away in Jordan’s capital city, Four Seasons Hotel Amman is the ideal jumping-off point for a visit to Petra—an experience that you won’t soon forget.


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3 Comments about Discover the Lost City of Petra

  1. Pingback: Parents' insider guide to family travel: Four Seasons Amman | Family Holidays

  2. jfkatz says:

    We live in Aqaba and always stay at the Four Seasons when in Amman. We love it (and we’ve tried other hotels). The service is wonderful, the gym is fabulous and the breakfast is my favorite. You will love Petra but make sure you have good shoes as the ground is a bit uneven with gravel in parts. Even in February be prepared for sun. Don’t forget your camera!

  3. danaee perez says:

    I am going there in 4 weeks and staying at the four seasons…so excited!!!!

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