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30th November, 2020

Once in your lifetime…

In this instalment of our 'Once in your lifetime' blog series, we explore the historical city of Petra in Jordan.

See the rose-red city of Petra

The ‘rose-red’ city of Petra is like nowhere else on Earth. Hand carved directly out of red sandstone cliffs in the high desert of Jordan, the city was ‘lost’ to the western world for centuries, before being rediscovered in 1812.

Petra was the capital of the Nabatean civilisation, a nomadic desert people who crafted their masterpiece city over 2,000 years ago. The Nabateans were innovative artisans and engineers. Petra had a sophisticated water system that at its height supported 30,000 inhabitants, and its famous ‘siq’ was a masterstroke in defence that kept the city unconquered for centuries.

The ‘siq’ is a deep, natural gorge that acts as Petra’s gateway. At its narrowest it’s less than three metres wide, so it was easy for the Nabateans to defend their capital against invaders. Today, the siq is one of Petra’s most iconic features: visitors follow the narrow winding path until, suddenly, the city’s Treasury comes into view. Bathed in bright sunlight and framed on both sides by the dark cliff walls, this magical glimpse is your first, unforgettable impression of the city.

The siq and the Treasury were the setting for several scenes in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’, providing a fittingly dramatic backdrop for the film’s action-packed final scenes.

Discover this fascinating city on our Ancient Petra and Arabian Deserts tour.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.