20 Photos of Petra, Jordan

20 Photos of Petra, Jordan

20 travel photos that will inspire you to visit Petra, Jordan
20 travel photos that will inspire you to visit Petra, Jordan

 

Our gregarious guide Mohammad pointed to the intricate carvings on the wall, “It’s a urinal. I need two volunteers.” Naturally, we were picked to do something this humiliating. Facing towards the ‘urinals’ we were suddenly spun around by his hands. My hand touched Audrey’s fingers and at that particular moment I finally clued in to what was going on. This particular area was where marriage ceremonies took place and instead of our entire group laughing at us pretending to use the toilet, we shared the same genuine chuckles over the two of us involved in a mock wedding. Oh, how our families will be disappointed/shocked at having not being invited on our special day πŸ˜‰

Many archaeological sites and/or UNESCO Heritage sites don’t live up to the hype. When I visited the Taj Mahal in Agra I felt a little underwhelmed. Although it was impressive I expected more. I suppose at times I suffer a little bit from my preconceived expectations: Paris Syndrome except in more exotic locales. However, I must genuinely admit that Petra not only lived up to my expectations – it exceeded them. The sheer size in combination with the impressive architecture helped me channel my inner Indiana Jones πŸ˜‰

Once called the ‘rose red city’ this ancient Nabataean city in the southern region of Jordan is home to the most famous tourist attraction (Petra) in all of Jordan. The former capital of the Nabataean kingdom from the 6th century BC thrived until it was conquered by the Roman Empire in AD 106. As a thriving center for commerce and trade, Petra flourished until a fateful earthquake devastated the cities infrastructure in AD 663. Saladin’s conquest of the Middle East in 1189, rendered Petra abandoned with its memory lost to the west and east for centuries.

In fact, it wasn’t until the daring Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, disguised as an Arab scholar, infiltrated the – at the time – Bedouin inhabited city that it was put back on the world map. After numerous excavation efforts Petra is now Jordan’s principle tourist attraction since 1929. It’s well known in popular culture as the site where Indian Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed and recently in 2007 it was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the world. A distinction, that in my opinion, was rather tardy.

Photo Essay of Petra, Jordan

As a travel photographer, visiting Petra, Jordan is like a boy realizing a childhood dream of visiting a fantasy land. It was hard to put my camera down; however, I did manage to spend plenty of time taking in Petra with my own two eyes and not just behind the lens.

As a travel photographer, visiting Petra, Jordan is like a boy realizing a childhood dream of visiting a fantasy land. It was hard to put my camera down; however, I did manage to spend plenty of time taking in Petra with my own two eyes and not just behind the lens.

The moment I realized the treasury was mere meters in front of me is one of the most distinct memories I have from Petra, Jordan.

The moment I realized the treasury was mere meters in front of me is one of the most distinct memories I have from Petra, Jordan. Β Another top moment was hiking the monastery in Petra.

This is the iconic image from Petra, Jordan - a wide angle perspective shot of the treasury. You won't have this place to yourself though as hoards of tourists, camels and even cats all compete for space.

This is the iconic image from Petra, Jordan – a wide angle perspective shot of the treasury. You won’t have this place to yourself though as hoards of tourists, camels and even cats all compete for space.

I've seen this man many times in photo galleries from other friends who have been to Petra. It was almost surreal getting to take his photo.

I’ve seen this man many times in photo galleries from other friends who have been to Petra. It was almost surreal getting to take his photo.

The echoing sound of galloping horses is one in which you'll learn to familiarize yourself with when visiting Petra.

The echoing sound of galloping horses is one in which you’ll learn to familiarize yourself with when visiting Petra

A final shot I took (and edited in sepia) just before sunset.

A final shot I took (and edited in sepia) just before sunset.

Well, how could we resist not taking a lovey dovey couple shot in Petra, Jordan for our future grandchildren ;)

Well, how could we resist not taking a lovey dovey couple shot in Petra, Jordan for our future grandchildren πŸ˜‰

This man isn't nearly as imposing as he seems. In fact, I just had to pay him a small fee in order for him to let me pass. He even let me take his photo ;)

This man isn’t nearly as imposing as he seems. In fact, I just had to pay him a small fee in order for him to let me pass. He even let me take his photo πŸ˜‰

I often had to remind myself to turn around and look back. Petra is so grand and massive that you forget sometimes to check your surroundings from the rear.

I often had to remind myself to turn around and look back. Petra is so grand and massive that you forget sometimes to check your surroundings from the rear.

There were no shortage of animal powered transportation options; however, mule certainly seemed less attractive of an option than going by camel or horseback.

There were no shortage of animal powered transportation options; however, mule certainly seemed less attractive of an option than going by camel or horseback.

No photo essay of mine would be complete with an obligatory shot of a roaming cat. This one was slinking around some trinkets being sold outside of a small shop.

No photo essay of mine would be complete with an obligatory shot of a roaming cat. This one was slinking around some trinkets being sold outside of a small shop.

The architecture and especially the intricate carvings boggle my mind. At this point in the day we were exhausted from all of the walking we had done. Worse yet was that the heat was really getting to us; however, we didn't want to miss out on climbing the steps to get a closer look.

The architecture and especially the intricate carvings boggled my mind. At this point in the day we were exhausted from all of the walking we had done. Worse yet was that the heat was really getting to us; however, we didn’t want to miss out on climbing the steps to get a closer look.

HDR photography came in handy every once in a while given the contrast between the harsh shadows and bright highlights.

HDR photography came in handy every once in a while given the contrast between the harsh shadows and bright highlights.

Fancy a camel ride? A few days later we rode camels from our Bedouin camp grounds to the area where we'd eventually have breakfast. Camels = 1, Sam and Audrey = 0 To say these lumbering beasts tenderized us would be quite the understatement.

Fancy a camel ride? A few days later we rode camels from our Bedouin camp grounds to the area where we’d eventually have breakfast. Camels = 1, Sam and Audrey = 0 To say these lumbering beasts tenderized us would be quite the understatement.

The rewards of climbing steps were that we had a great vantage point view over Petra. On the right you'll notice many trinkets for sale.

The rewards of climbing steps were that we had a great vantage point view over Petra. On the right you’ll notice many trinkets for sale.

Aside from Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, I've never visited an archaeological site that lived up to its hype and impressed me as much as Petra, Jordan. I only wish I had more time to explore its vast expanse.

Aside from Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, I’ve never visited an archaeological site that lived up to its hype and impressed me as much as Petra, Jordan. I only wish I had more time to explore its vast expanse.

As a travel photography tip, don't forget to look up at your surroundings.

As a travel photography tip, don’t forget to look up at your surroundings.

This Bedouin man was waiting on his camel for a tourist to come along an accept his offer for a ride.

This Bedouin man was waiting on his camel for a tourist to come along an accept his offer for a ride.

Our surprise wedding at Jordan, Petra was something we'll never forget. Our families I'm sure won't either ;)

Our surprise wedding at Jordan, Petra was something we’ll never forget. Our families I’m sure won’t either as in the sense they weren’t invited πŸ˜‰

In order to get a sense of the sheer size of these grounds, I've used people in the background as a scale.

In order to get a sense of the sheer size of these grounds, I’ve used people in the background as a scale. With more time I would have liked to have had the opportunity to explore more of the frontier areas of the city; however, with just half a day I think I made the most of my time here.

Travel Video: Petra

Petra, Jordan Travel Video

For this trip we partnered with My Jordan Journey.

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  1. Pingback: Road To Petra
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  3. says: Vid

    Hey Sam,

    Such wonderful pictures. My favourite has to be of the sun coming up behind the rocks/wall. Brilliantly captured. When we went to Petra, it was a half day trip. I really wanted to stay overnight to capture the place at night. There are just way too many people during the day, don’t you think ? (from a photography point of view).

    Would love to return some day. And Oh, BTW, congratulations to you and the Mrs. πŸ˜‰

    Cheers

    Vid

  4. says: Yana

    Posts like these makes me regret not appreciating Petra when i went there….I guess i’ll have to go back πŸ˜‰

    BTW, weddings and all…My mother was offered 150 camels by a jordanian in Petra if she agreed to give me to him. Yeap.

    Congrats!

  5. Beautiful photographs, Samuel! I’m newer to your site and have very much enjoyed all your stories and photos. I’ll be taking a leap of faith and quitting my job and starting my own adventure soon of teaching English in Spain. Reading your site has removed any hesitation or worries I’ve had. Thank you!

  6. says: Angie Away

    Wow, the angle on your first photo just allowed me to get a glimpse of your excitement, almost like I was right there next to you. From the architecture to the people, it is just all very beautiful in every way.

  7. says: Aubrey

    And another place added to my travel bucket list! Gorgeous photos, Petra looks breathtaking. I especially love the second shot, the peekaboo view through the rocks.

  8. Wow! What an experience it must have been. Things often look less impressive on photos than they really are, but each one of these speak tales of majestic architecture and scenery that’s leaving me speechless. Great photo essay man!

  9. says: Shing

    Orgasmical photos! Exploring Petra last year is one of my all-time travel highlights – don’t you think walking through the Siq to the Treasury is the perfect way to built a sense of anticipation??

  10. says: Derek Cullen

    You’re right it is truly exhausting the place is huge, god I wish now I spent more time trying to capture better pics. These completely put them to shame lol Pic number 3 is fantastic, Good job and congratulations!
    Derek

  11. says: Laura @Travelocafe

    As usual your photos are amazing! I have also enjoyed very much the video on Petra and the CATS… OMG! The CATS! LOL!

  12. says: Londoner Kate

    Oh wow the colours and contrast in these shots are stunning. I’ve clearly been missing out on your photo blog for too long!

  13. Sam,
    Thanks for reminding me how great Petra is. I want to go back to Jordan and visit more places.
    I have to admit the lovey dovey shot is MY FAVORITE! Glad to see you enjoying yourselves!
    Happy Holidays!
    Lisa
    We Said Go Travel

  14. says: Nita

    Wow!! Truly impressive. All amazing pictures and what a fantastic vdo too; the meow meow song made me laugh! I’ really want to visit Jordan even more now πŸ™‚ Enjoyed your post!

  15. says: Nancy

    I very much enjoyed your post. I have been fascinated with Petra for years. It is on our list of must see places. We have traveled with our family to 16 countries in the last year, but have not made it there yet. Do you think that a 7 year old would be able to handle it?

  16. says: Ivana

    Wow wow wow, the architecture is just spectacular!!!
    And the orange colour is something that would make me walking there with open mouth the whole time.

  17. says: Heather

    These are great, Samuel! I love the unexpected camera angles, looking up at the camels and getting up close with the ruins. It’s nice to know that the site lived up to the hype! Now I want to go more than ever πŸ™‚

  18. says: Maria

    Sam you’re right on the money with your comment that time in Jordan is like realizing a childhood dream of visiting a fantasy land.
    At least, from your photos it certainly looks that way.