Archive for the ‘Jordan and Israel’ Category

Petra, Jordan: The Real Indiana Jones Adventure

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Topdeck Travel’s festival manager, Amelia Lawrence, gets all Indiana Jones in Jordan’s famous historical city of Petra.

When visiting the archaeological wonder of Petra, right in the heart of Jordan, it is impossible to not feel a bit like Indiana Jones. In fact, even before going through the entrance gates, I was tempted to buy a “genuine” Indiana hat from the Indiana Jones Gift Shop, right on Petra’s doorstep! Don’t call me Junior indeed!

To get into Petra requires a walk through a long, narrow gorge called al-Siq, which just adds to the drama of the approach. The gaping pink hued chasm looms over visitors, emphasising the natural beauty of this area. As you get closer to the end of the one kilometre gorge the excitement builds all around; some tourists walk slowly to eke out the process, other break into a run to reach their final destination. And that destination is the Treasury, or Al Khazneh.

Al Khazneh

Al Khazneh

The Treasury is Petra’s most famous, and most impressive, building. Carved directly into the sandstone rock face it is truly an archaeological and architectural wonder. Even the most blasé travellers would find it hard to remain unimpressed by this phenomenal building. And its location at the very end of al-Siq means that the beauty of the building is only increased by the dramatic first glimpse you catch of it, through a dark split in the sandstone, just like Indiana himself!

However, there is so much more on offer in Petra. The city gradually unfolds, boasting more and more amazing buildings, tombs and temples built into the sheet sandstone rock faces.

A climb of (only) 600 or so steps takes visitors up to the Monastery, or Ad Deir, a monumental building measuring 50 metres wide by 45 metres high, which is open for tourist to climb in, on and around at their leisure. Lookout points nearby give stunning views over the valleys and cliffs which make up this historical marvel. There are tombs upon tombs, towers and temples, and several sacrificial altars with breathtaking views of the city.

At the end of a long day, we headed back to al-Siq to make our way out of Petra, still wishing we had more time to see the rest of what this amazing city had to offer.

It was as the archaeological site was closing down that we experienced the biggest rush of the day: a chance to take our photos at the Treasury with absolutely no other tourists around. Just us, this amazing building and a lone tourist humming the Indiana Jones theme song.

For more information about Topdeck’s trips to Jordan, visit