Petra By Night, Part I


I FINALLY convinced Raj to take me to Petra. He’s been telling me for the past three months that it’s too hot and we’d go…later…With nothing to do and nowhere to go NOW, we finally made it happen this weekend.

Petra by Night

The Candle-lit Path

I was insistent that we go during the week because I really wanted to see “Petra by Night,” an after-dark guided excursion through the canyon (only offered three times a week, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday), lit only by candles (luminaries). Keep in mind, this is no “Lights of Liberty” tour where you have to wear headphones while emotive music is played to enhance your experience as you’re walking through historic sites, nor is it a pre-recorded, laser light extravaganza like the kind you see at the Mayan Pyramids in Mexico where a booming voice recounts the glories of the past while lasers and sound effects pollute the night sky. I found Petra by Night to be an amazing experience precisely for its lack of pomp and commercialism.

The gates open at 8:30 and you’re welcomed into the main gate. The walk takes about twenty minutes, mostly in silence if you’re lucky enough to be in the right company, which enhances the experience. It takes a little while for your eyes to adjust, but once they do, the night sky and the shadows flickering off the canyon walls are magical. When you finally reach the Treasury plaza (best known as the temple from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), the facade of the Treasury is illuminated from hundreds of candles in the sand. A guide seats you, either onto carpet on the sand in front of the plaza, or on a bench along the canyon wall, and then everyone is served Bedouin tea. Once everyone is seated, a Bedouin musician sings a folk song, followed by a another one on a pipe, and then a little bit of history is recounted by a guide. The whole “show” lasts approximately 45 minutes, just the right amount of time without making it too long or too short. Guests are invited to linger a little longer, and then walk back out along the candle lit path, back to the entrance.

Through the Canyons

Inside the Treasury Plaza
Sweet kitty who wanted lots of love
En route back

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5 thoughts on “Petra By Night, Part I

  1. so great you had that experience.. john and I walked up to the Monastery to see sunset once and stayed too late and had to walk back in the COMPLETE darkness – 2 hours… when the sunsets in the desert it is very sudden! we were met at the entrance near the treasury by some very worried guards but the walk through the ruins, black against the star studded sky, was so fantastic – scary but amazing!

  2. What a wonderful experience. Petra looks like an absolutely beautiful place. It appears to have been hewn out of sheer rock. The pillars in the front are mammoth. Are you able to enter into any of the doorways to see how the people lived? Your description of the cats and dogs was very sad as well as the children. That is the part of traveling to poor countries that I don’t like. The decription of the night visit was lovely. You and Raj have such a weath of memories to bring home.

    1. Did you find the Holy Grail? I am jealous- looks very cool. Where did you stay? Did you go with a tour. I love that cat. I miss my cat. Whah!!!

  3. Once again, Bud, being the Indiana Jones fan, will be quite jealous that he’s not there to share in these adventures! Guess some of us just have to live vicariously….. Since I’m not an animal fan, all those cats and dogs would be a little disconcerting. The site looks amazing in your photos. Isn’t it a wonder that people then could design and build such fantastic structures with very little equipment?

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