petra

Petra is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a unique and city carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, they are a tribe of industrious Arabians who settled here over two thousand years ago. Their activity in the area effectively turned it into an important market place for silk and spice. Other trade routes linking China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome also flow through this city. The entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge. Walking through the Siq is an experience in itself, the colours and formations of the rocks are dazzling. The end of the Siq features the Al-Khazneh treasury, it is only a tip of the iceberg of the many wonderous sights in Petra. The city is home to lots of natural beauty and outstanding architectural structures; there is the Roman-style theatre, which has enough seats to accommodate 3,000 people.

There are the obelisks, temples, sacrificial altars and colonnaded streets, and high above, overlooking the valley is the impressive Ad-Deir Monastery and a flight of 800 rocky steps leads you there. Within the site there are two excellent museums; the Petra Archaeological Museum, and the Petra Nabataean Museum both of which features finds from excavations in the Petra region and an insight into Petra’s colourful past. There is also the 13th century shrine, built by the Mameluk Sultan, Al Nasir Mohammad, to commemorate the death of Aaron, the brother of Moses. It’s wow, I know, right? It can be seen on top of Mount Aaron in the Sharah range.

To get truly awesome shots of the city of Petra you’d want to get there early and leave late. There usually lots of tourists in Petra so it is advisable to leave early to catch nice shots of the beautiful scenery without having to deal with the heads of other tourist which will interfere with your shots much later in the day. Also due to its topography once the sunsets there isn’t enough light for good photography. Getting a three-day pass is one thing you should secure if you have the time. The rocks gradually change colours at different times of the day due to light interference and you’ll sure want to take pictures of those. Try to take shots from different angles and get different perspectives of the site, try as much as possible to get away from the crowd, get off the normal route but in cases when you can’t avoid them, join them, it’s kind of fun too.

Now, the Monastery; it is a location you’d want to shoot at, the large building is indeed a sight to behold.

Lastly one more thing you should do while in Petra is to drop the camera after a while and allow your eyes soak in all the beauty. I know I seem crazy telling a photographer reading this to drop his camera, but trust me, it will be worth it.

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