Aqaba (for Petra), Jordan
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Approximately 9 Hours
"Inhabited since prehistoric times, the Nabataean caravan-city of Petra, situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, was an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. Petra is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. It is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites, where ancient Eastern traditions blend with Hellenistic architecture."
A scenic two-hour drive takes you from the pier in Aqaba to the Petra Visitor Center, located in Wadi Musa. Either on the motor coach on the drive to Petra or on the return drive to Aqaba, your experience will be enriched by an expert lecturer highly specialized in the history and culture of Petra.
Lost to the desert for centuries, Petra is one of the most spectacular sites of antiquity. This rose-hued city carved out of solid sandstone is the legacy of the Nabataeans -- an industrious Arabian people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2,000 years ago. Admired then for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels, Petra isconsidered a new Wonder of the World, enchanting visitors from all corners of the globe. The area was lost to all but nomadic Bedouins until 1812, and not until 1929 did excavation of the site begin.
Upon arrival at this amazing site, proceed on foot to the mile-long siq -- a narrow gorge whose steeply rising sides all but obliterate the sun, providing a dramatic contrast for the magic to come. Share the amazement of travelers who have gone before you, as you reach the end of the canyon walls and catch your first glimpse of the immense and iconic Treasury building with its towering columns and intricate carvings. The Petra basin boasts more than 800 individual monuments, including buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gateways, and colonnaded streets, that were carved from the brilliantly-colored sandstone by the technical and artistic genius of its inhabitants.
Celebrate your adventure over a buffet lunch of Arabian and Western foods at a leading hotel nearby, before returning to Aqaba.
Please note: Tour requires considerable walking. There is a strenuous walk into and out of the Petra site along an inclined path that includes slippery and unpaved surfaces. The walking at Petra itself is mostly level. Total walking distance is up to five miles with only two benches along the way. Temperatures are high. Shade is limited; please dress accordingly. Bring a hat and wear sunscreen. While there are a limited number of carriages, camels and donkeys available at Petra for transportation, they are available on a first-come, first-served basis and their use is in no way encouraged as they are not insured. If you choose to take the horse-drawn carriage, you do so at your own risk and there will be no narration during the bumpy ride that ends at the Treasury building. Your carriage driver will schedule a meeting time with you in front of the Treasury Building for the return ride. Expect delays; 20 minutes late is not considered late in Jordan. Guests wishing to arrange for a carriage ride must do so directly with their guide and pay the guide, not the carriage driver. Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair or for those with mobility limitations. Participants should be in good physical condition; even if you engage a carriage or service animal, you must still travel on foot over uneven and inclined terrain in order to completely view the site.