Panorama of the Week: Petra by Night, Jordan

If there’s any icon associated with Jordan and its history, it must be the stunning facade of the Treasury at Petra. We were fortunate enough to be introduced to the crown jewel of this ancient Nebataean city at night.

If you think the Treasury looks incredible in the light of day, check out what it feels like when lit only by the warm light of hundreds of luminaries (paper bag candles) laid at its base. Open the panorama below (and do it full screen!) to see for yourself.

360-Degree Panorama: Nighttime View of the Treasury at Petra

panorama directions

If you are planning a visit to Petra, we recommend beginning it with Petra by Night (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday nights at 8:30 PM, but double check times in advance). To walk the siqs, the narrow canyons that form the road to the Treasury, by candlelight is a work-of-art experience. Once you arrive at the base of the Treasury, you’ll be treated to a visual that’s nothing short of incredible.

After arriving, you’ll sit on the ground, enjoy a cup of hot tea and hear two rounds of traditional Bedouin music — one played by a man with a rebab (a traditional stringed instrument) and one by a man with a flute who follows up his performance with a short story. We have to admit that when we first heard Petra by Night would include “traditional music” we cringed. Traditional music shows can often be cheesy and over-the-top. For Petra by Night, not at all. The performance was simple and very tastefully done.

You can buy tickets for Petra by Night (12 JD or $17) at the Petra entrance gate or at travel agents in town. Our advice is to arrive at the gates a bit early so you can get ahead of the crowd and secure a front row seat at the Treasury.

When you see Petra — its canyons, its history, its icons — in all its various lights of day after seeing it at night, you will be fulfilling a piqued curiosity.

More on that coming soon.

Disclosure: Our trip to Jordan is sponsored by the Jordan Tourism Board, but the opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

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Comments

  1. says

    Absolutely gorgeous! I am so gutted that when I went to Petra, I didn’t know about this in advance and wasn’t there for the nights when they did the candlelit walk. Hopefully this means that when I go back to Jordan, I’ll have one other thing to look forward to!

  2. says

    I’m glad you enjoyed Petra After Dark. I thought it might be cheesy, but I really enjoyed it. I only wish my pictures had come out better! It was one of the times I wish I had my DSLR with me on my RTW trip. Looking forward to the rest of your trip report!

  3. says

    @Prime: Glad you enjoyed this! Petra is really an incredible sight – highly recommended to visit for a couple of days.

    @Connie: It’s a shame that Petra by Night doesn’t take place every night, but I also imagine it’s a lot of work setting up the candles and cleaning up each night. Now you have a good reason to return to Petra!

    @RenegadePilgrim: We also thought it might be cheesy when we first heard about it, but ended up enjoying it quite a bit. Most people left immediately when the music ended, but we hung out for quite a while to enjoy the area to ourselves (as you can see in the panorama).

    @Lisa: Thanks!

    @Kirk: Yes, this was our first time seeing Petra by Night. I’d highly recommend it!

  4. says

    Great photo, as always. It’s been great to see your first impressions (both visual and written) of Jordan. I’m looking forward to reading all about the rest of it. I never saw Petra by night, but glad I got a chance to vicariously through you. Safe travels!

  5. says

    Awesome! Simply Awesome! That seems like a really amazing place to be at night. How many other people were on the tour with you guys?

  6. says

    @Wandering Trader: So glad you opened it up to full screen! That’s really the best way to view any of these panoramas so that you can see all the detail and move around.

    @Jodi: We had quite a journey through Jordan and will be posting lots more in the next couple of weeks. Really a fascinating country. Glad you were able to experience a bit of Petra by night through this panorama!

    @Paul: Your question about guides isn’t stupid at all. When you arrive at the entrance to Petra, there’s a window for local guides. These are all local people who have taken a certification course (about a year) to know all that there is to know about the site. While I can heartily recommend the guide we had – Ma’Moun Faraiat – the way the system works is that you get the next guide on the list so that it is fair and without playing favorites. We used this local guide system in Petra and Jerash and both guides were excellent.

    @Randy: On our tour of Jordan it was just us with our host from Jordan Tourism Board and a driver. At Petra by Night there were quite a few people, but we waited for everyone to leave and then we took this panorama.

    @Rebecca: Thanks! It was pretty awesome!

  7. says

    @Ken: Several people have mentioned Idiot Abroad in Jordan. We’ll have to try and find it on YouTube or download it somewhere to see what it showed of Jordan. Glad you enjoyed this panorama.

  8. says

    Did you also see Petra during the day? Because we couldn’t really afford to stay overnight in the Petra area, we booked a 6am bus from Amman on a Friday that then left Petra in the afternoon around 3 or 4 I think. I would’ve loved to have seen Petra at night and spent more time exploring the HUGE site during the day, but I think I got to see most of the main sites. Even without spending as long as I wanted, just walking around the ancient city really transports you back in time.

    If you were there during the day, do you know if there are always Bedouin children, sometimes as young as 2, trying to sell postcards and pieces of rock and various other things? I was hoping we only saw them since it was a Friday, but I’m afraid they’re there all the time, since I think their families live there. Did you get a chance to ask a guide or anyone at the Tourism Board about this? We never did.

    Also if you were there during the day, did you do the horse ride from the entrance to the entrance of the siq? Supposedly the price of that is included in the ticket into Petra (which was increased last January and is now really high), but the young men who led our horses demand we tip them a lot in order to feed and water the horses. I only tipped 1 JD and walked away, since the ride was supposed to be included, and I figured they were lying, but my less-traveled boyfriend was suckered into tipping a bit more. I wasn’t sure who was right in that situation.

    Loved the panorama!

  9. says

    @Cathy: We did visit Petra during the day and actually wish we had more than one day to explore the area. It is huge and there are some interesting treks around the area as well. You can see our photos and details from our daytime visit here: http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/2011/03/petra-wadi-musa-jordan-audio-slideshow/

    There were a couple of kids of about 8-12 selling jewelry around, but we were also there on a Friday so it’s hard to tell whether they are always working or if it was because of the weekend. For the small kids (before school age), I believe their families get them to “help” out from a young age since the parents are working all the time.

    We didn’t take the horse trip as we preferred to walk, but our guide said that the ride was supposed to be included in the ticket and that they get a portion of the ticket to take care of the horses. But, everyone will always try to get an extra tip :)

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