Teri's travels through Jordan - Petra

by Teri E. Popp, Tastemaker in Residence

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, located in Western Asia, borders Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. Its most visited tourist destination, featured in many a movie, television show, and book, is the spectacular Petra.  

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985, Petra lies in a basin of the Wadi Aqaba. Constructed by Arab Nabataens as early as 312 BC, the structures that still stand today were primarily tombs and funeral buildings. The most famous of these, the Treasury, was featured in the movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."

The ancient aqueduct system of Petra still survives near the edifices in the canyons of the city.  It's believed that the Nabataeans collected the water through the aqueducts for later resale to travelers and others located in the high desert mountains surrounding the area. Most inhabitants of the ancient city lived at the foot of the canyon in homes that no longer stand; however, some individuals and families lived in the caves located in the lower part of Petra.

To tour Petra, we entered on foot by land from Eilat, Israel into Jordan. From the border, we took a bus to the tour site. It was an incredible full day tour to drive up to, and walk through, the canyon. Once we had walked down the canyon, we enjoyed some tea in a local Bedouin tea shop.

Bedouins, a semi-nomadic group, currently live in and amongst the mountains all through the Middle East. In addition to offering tea in the local shop, they enticed us to take a camel ride back up the valley from the base to the Treasury. From there, we enjoyed a very fast (and bumpy) carriage ride to the top of the valley.

After a full day of touring through Petra, we returned to Israel, again by foot, to travel on to our next destination.