August 6, 2001 – Dana – Petra (1)




Today, departure for Petra with Antoon, a friend of Nabil drives us to the crossroad to take a minibus at 7:00. I find a seat next to an Iraqi, a mathematics teacher in Amman. We are going to Ma’an and we speak on various subjects but I am really interested by what he can tell me about his country. He invites me to come and have a look there but I reply that the border is closed to individual travelers and that only groups are able to visit a little part of Iraq. We also speak about the embargo from the United Nations and its effects on the population. Many Iraqis have no other choice but to come in Jordan to work and earn some money for their families. I speak about France, he really would like to see Paris. With him I learn some new words in Arabic.


On our way to the bus station in Ma’an, he is looking for coins to pay the journey and I see a banknote that I never saw. He sows me a 100 Iraqi dinars banknote with Saddam Hussein on it. I want to buy the banknote, it will be a great souvenir from this encounter, a rare item. With a big smile, he offers me the blue item, wonderful (Helou). We say goodbye.


Souvenir from an Iraqi encounter


In Ma’an, we get on a brand new minibus, a premiere. We were used to old stuffs til this moment. There is hardly anybody in the station but the driver starts the engine and we are gone. Strange !! It is the first time that a minibus leaves the station without being full. We understand why in Wadi Musa. He asks us for 1.5 JD for the 20 km, it is out of question. There will be no negotiation, he should have wait for other people in Ma'an. Finally we reach an agreement at 500 fils.


We are looking for the valentine hotel recommended by Nabil, the hotel is crowded with many backpacks in the lobby. After an orange juice and the purchase of bottles of water in the shops near the obelisk circle, I go directly to the entrance of the site where I buy a 3 days pass for 30 JD (25 JD for 2 days and 20 JD for 1 day) that allows me to stay the 4th day for free.


Once the ticket bought, I start towards the entrance of the siq. On the way, you can see 3 blocks of stone, these are the first tower tombs of the site. A little further, another tomb is sculpted in the rock. On the lower part, erosion widens the gate and attacks the columns. On the upper level, you can see the 4 obelisks and you immediately think of Egypt.


Petra : Pyramids’ tomb


After a 30 minutes walk, we arrive at the entrance of the siq that will lead to the site of Petra. Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss, rediscovered the site in 1812. The excavations and the restoration of the monuments started in 1929, they are still go on today. I imagined the siq narrower than it is whereas it is wide enough. The ground is covered with concrete but it is not obvious. The surrounding are rock faces of 100m. On the whole path there is a canal on one side that enable the lower city to benefit from the water near the entrance.


Petra : The Siq


After another 30 minutes walk, a tiny part of a rose monument is revealed to us through the rocks. The arrival on the Khazneh is superb.


Petra : The entrance by the Khazneh


This monument, an architectural jewel, sets the entrance of the necropolis of Petra. His Arabic name comes from a legend saying that the urn at the top contains a treasury (khazneh) left there by a pharaoh. Bedouins have tried to fire at the monument in order to retrieve this treasury. The khazneh shoul have been built between the 1st century before Christ and the 2nd century after Christ. The sumptuousness of the outside contrasts with the poverty of the inside.





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D3 : Damascus

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D23 : Dana – Petra (1)  (2)

D24 : Petra

D25 : Petra

D26 : Petra – Wadi Rum

D27 : Wadi Rum – Aqaba

D28 : Aqaba

D29 : Aqaba

D30 : Aqaba

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D32 : Aqaba - Amman

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D34 : Amman – Lyons




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