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A visit to Wadi Rum and Petra in Jordan

Since I posted the travel photos of Jerusalem in March 2013, it has been awhile since I posted any travel post. We have a long weekend in the UK with Monday as our bank holiday, so I’ll give another travel post a go. It has been difficult for me to sort out and select amongst so many pictures!

Earlier in Jerusalem from Eilat we crossed the border and went over to Jordan. Our first stop was Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum is a national park of ochre-coloured rock and pinnacles in the desert landscape. Wadi Rum was also a major trade route and settlements of the Nabataeans. Petra is an UNESCO World Heritage site.

We waited for our guide at the visitor’s centre, in the Rum village. Rum village is inhabited by semi-nomadic Bedouin tribes. One of them is the family of our tour operator Saleh who instructed his nephew Musa to drive and show us around the park. Saleh also offers tent accommodation and simple meals on a day or overnight outing out at the Wadi Rum desert.

This is what we saw at the visitor’s centre.

Petra and Wadi Rum 1

We were invited to Saleh’s reception tent where sweet red ceylon tea is served.Petra and Wadi Rum 2

This picture below is the site for Lawrence’s Spring. This tranquil spring was described by TE Lawrence as “a paradise just 5 feet square”. Remember Lawrence of Arabia, TE Lawrence was a British Army officer renowned especially for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and the Arab Revolt against Ottoman Turkish rule of 1916–18.

A Nabataen water channel can be seen here.

Petra and Wadi Rum 3My boys trudged the soft shifty sands up the sand dune in an attempt to snowboard or slide along the slope. I tried to get up there but every time I do so I seem to sink deeper into the sand. It is hard work indeed!

Petra and Wadi Rum 4 Petra and Wadi Rum 5

“Weeeeeeeeeeeee….!!! Look Mommy, we are sleighing on the sand!”

Petra and Wadi Rum 6

I look at these pictures below of Wadi Rum and feels as if I have landed on Mars and not earth. It is rather surreal to look at those rose-coloured rocks.Petra and Wadi Rum 7

Petra and Wadi Rum 9

This picture below is the Khazali Canyon. The Canyon is dotted with Thamudic inscriptions. It is possible to scramble 200m into the canyon but I’d rather not!

Petra and Wadi Rum 8 Some tents we saw next to the Canyon.
Petra and Wadi Rum 10 Petra and Wadi Rum 11

Our guide, Musa (Arabic for Moses) said, the picture below is the small bridge. While Musa, a native Nabataen, hopped deftly from one rock to the other like a mountain goat, I found myself struggling to gain a foothold on these uneven rock surface. This expedition has proved that age is catching up with me. I was also more worried for my sons than myself as we seem to climb higher and higher and closer and closer to the ledge!

Petra and Wadi Rum 12

Musa then took us to the Jebel Umm Fruth Rock bridge, heralded as the biggest around the region. My guidebook says “It rises straight from the desert floor and can be climbed and crossed without difficulty”. Well, no thank you, we sat down at the base of the rock bridge and had lunch instead!

Petra and Wadi Rum 13

Throughout the entire day we were drove around the back of a Toyota jeep in the national park. Looking back there were many of such scenes that came into view.

Petra and Wadi Rum 14

We left Wadi Rum at late afternoon and drove to Petra. Along the way we drove by many villages. We saw this magnificent view of the Valley of Moses. The village is named after the valley.

It was reported that Prophet Moses passed through the valley and struck water from the rock for his followers at the site of (Ain Musa) Moses water Spring (Moses’s Well). The Nabateans built channels that carried water from this spring to the city of Petra. Wadi Musa was also nicknamed the Guardian of Petra. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was buried in the nearby Mount Hor.

Petra and Wadi Rum 15

The next morning, we had a hearty breakfast at the hotel and walked to the entrance of Petra. We were fortunate to have a hotel next to the Petra Archaeological park. This is the view walking towards the Siq (the narrow gorge that leads to Petra).Petra and Wadi Rum 16

We must follow a 900m trek through the siq before we arrive at Petra main. These water channels stretched all the way from the entrance of the siq to the Treasury and runs both side of the passage way. The water channels are part of a sophisticated system of water conservation and flood prevention devised by the Nabataeans. We are talking about in the days of 1BC here!

Petra and Wadi Rum 17

Petra and Wadi Rum 19

At the end of the Siq there is this first breathtaking glimpse of the Treasury when its pink-hued, finely chiselled facade suddenly appears through a chink in the dark, narrow walls of the siq. A moment filled with powerful contrast.

Petra and Wadi Rum 20 Petra and Wadi Rum 22

This 1st century BC Treasury takes its name from Bedouin folklore. They believes that the Khasneh el-Faroun (Treasury of the Pharoah) was the magical creation of a great wizard who had deposited treasure in its urn.

Petra and Wadi Rum 21Between 3rd to 1st Century BC the Nabateans built a superb city. In AD 106 Petra was annexed by Rome. Christianity arrived in the 4th century, the Muslims in the 7th. Thereafter Petra lay forgotten until 1812 when rediscovered by JL Burckhardt.
Petra and Wadi Rum 23

Streets of Façades- these are tightly packed tombs of Petra’s oldest façade. Most are crowned with multiple crowsteps.Petra and Wadi Rum 24

it is easy to believe that there is no living animal in the desert but this little lizard proves me wrong.

Petra and Wadi Rum 26

The Temenos Gate dates from after the Roman annexation.

Petra and Wadi Rum 27

We climbed 1000+ steps up this ravine to see another monument perched on top of the mountain. Looking back I can’t believe how far my 7 and 5-year-olds have climbed!

Petra and Wadi Rum 28

After much sweat and pain (no tears), we were rewarded by this view.

Petra and Wadi Rum 29

I thought the Treasury was the only beautiful carved structure in Petra, so the Monastery was a surprise for me. The Monastery is the most colossal temple in Petra dedicated to the deified king, Obodas 1, who died in 86 BC. It became known as the Monastery because of the many Christian crosses carved on its walls.

On our way down to the Monastery to the city of Petra, remnants of Roman architecture can be seen here. I am standing on top of the Great Temple looking down on the Temenos Gate and Roman Cardo. With the base of colonnades lined both sides of the streests, it is ornated with mosaics and public fountains, all in ruins now.

Petra and Wadi Rum 30

Carved into the base of El-Khubtha mountain are the Urn, Corinthian and Palace tombs. These are possibly the Royal tombs of the Kings and Queens of Petra.

Petra and Wadi Rum 31

These are the colours of the natural rocks found in this region, a mixture of rose, mustard and brown hues.

Petra and Wadi Rum 32

This is the Urn tomb with its arches and dungeons below.

Petra and Wadi Rum 34

This more decorated tomb is called the Palace tombs. The largest of all, it has five levels facade which was taller than the rock into which it was carved.

Petra and Wadi Rum 35From the Royal tombs I could look back and see the Roman Great Temple and the “Palace of the Pharoah’s Daughter” (Qasr el-Bint el-Faroun).

Petra and Wadi Rum 36

We left Petra in the late afternoon. For those who are exhausted and tired, you can opt for a ride on horse carriage. These two were speeding through the Siq!Petra and Wadi Rum 37

I will end this post with posters of the Hashemite Kings of Jordan in front of a gift shop. It has been a rewarding journey from Wadi Rum to Petra. This is a tick off my second wonders of the seven, after the Great Wall of China in 2004. 😀

Petra and Wadi Rum 38


About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


21 thoughts on “A visit to Wadi Rum and Petra in Jordan

  1. Reblogged this on misentopop.

    Posted by GP | May 6, 2013, 8:50 am
  2. Wow, what amazing photos! And I especially love the sand sledding pics! :–) Thanks for sharing them!

    Posted by rhapsodyinbooks | May 6, 2013, 10:31 am
  3. What wonderful photos, thanks for sharing! I love how the tents blend in with the landscape.

    Posted by biblioglobal | May 6, 2013, 1:31 pm
  4. I don’t think I would like that bridge! Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing them with us 🙂

    Posted by Sam (Tiny Library) | May 6, 2013, 5:18 pm
  5. Beautiful photos again JoV, thank you for sharing them. Ever since my mother came back from Petra I have really wanted to go!

    Posted by jessicabookworm | May 6, 2013, 8:51 pm
  6. Yay! Photos! I am still so envious that you went there….! How absolutely breathtaking a sight it must have been to catch your first glimpses of the place!

    Posted by olduvai | May 7, 2013, 12:29 am
    • Olduvai,
      Yes it is breathtaking. They say too much of a good thing is not good, and they are right. I saw Petra after seeing the great wonders and structures at Jerusalem, so the Awe effect diluted a little. 😉

      Posted by JoV | May 7, 2013, 2:29 pm
  7. Wow, fantastic photos! I really get a sense of what this part of your trip was like and it is amazing!

    Posted by Helen Murdoch | May 7, 2013, 2:12 am
  8. Great one! Now to decide whether Jordan has gone up my priority list …

    Posted by mee | May 7, 2013, 12:25 pm
  9. What an amazing post! I had visited there more than ten years ago, yes, Elat (so beautiful there) and the magnificent Petra. Your detailed photo-journaling is fascinating.

    Posted by Arti | May 7, 2013, 4:41 pm
  10. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my Istanbul pics! I was delighted to come to your blog and see that you went to Wadi Rum and Petra earlier this year. I think it’s possible we had the same guide for Wadi Rum. I know Saleh is a common name, but the reception tent looks familiar and we were also in a Toyota truck with Saleh’s nephew (can’t remember his name), and we went sand-boarding, etc. And I definitely agree the climb to the Monastery is worth it, though I am also amazed that your kids made that trek. Anyway, after I’m done with my Istanbul pics, I’ll be posting my Jordan pics. I enjoyed looking at your pictures and comparing notes.

    Posted by Christy | May 12, 2013, 11:39 pm
    • Christy,
      We may have had the same guide Christy. Saleh advertises his service on Trip Advisor so we may very well had the same guide!
      My kids (7 and 5 years old) made it to Monastery. An American couple gave my sons a word of encouragement for making it up so high. We met the same couple again at Mount Nebo. It seems as tourists we visited similar places. 🙂 I will post the next instalment on journey to the Dead Sea and Mount Nebo and we can compare notes!

      I look forward to your Jordan pictures too. Did you get the chance to go to Israel?

      Posted by JoV | May 13, 2013, 8:50 am

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