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The usual access to the Nabataean capital is the Siq, the deep, 1.2 km-long gorge that spectacularly opens up into the square in front of the "Pharaoh's Treasury", one of the most famous sights in the world. But if you have several days at your disposal, which is highly recommended, you can also explore Petra's back trail, on a mountain hike coming from the north via the "Monastery" (Ad Deir) .
Only very few tourists take the time to experience the topography and history of the area in this special way with breathtaking views of the mountains and across the wide basin of Wadi Araba. The climb up to the mountain plateau of Ad Deir is not very strenuous. All you need is a little physical condition for the ups and downs of the path and the stairs, and you shouldn't be afraid of heights - see our route description.
We started the day trip at Siq al-Barid (Little Petra) and then visited the Neolithic village along the way. The entire route via Ad Deir, down to the ancient centre of Petra, with the walk through the Siq to the Visitor Centre at the entrance is about 13 km long (see the distances below).
Although you can do the tour on your own, a guide is recommended. The route is hardly signposted and it is easy to get lost up to the beginning of the stairs. In addition, a local Bedouin guide will tell you a lot about the history of the area, his own community and the mountain world, and point out details that would otherwise be overlooked.
On the way up to Ad Deir you pass a ticket control - but there is no ticket sale. So you have to buy your ticket at the Petra Visitor Center, and if you have a Jordan Pass, you have to stamp it there.
- Total distance of the hike from Siq al-Barid over the Neolithic village, up to the Ad Deir Plateau, down to the center of Petra and through the Siq to the Petra Visitor Center = approx. 13 km
- Entrance of Siq al-Barid to Ad Deir (monastery) = 7 km
- Entrance of Siq al-Barid to Neolithic village = 800 m
- Neolithic village to ticket control = approx. 3 km
- Ticket control to Ad Deir = approx. 3 km, you walk 1.5, up to 2 hours (incl. breaks)
From the entrance of Siq al-Barid to the Neolithic village it is 800 m on a flat road. Continue through Wadi Siq al-Ghurab in a south-westerly direction until you reach an elevation with a single mountain in front of you after about 1200 m [map]. Pass this hill on the left for about 200 m in southern direction, then turn right in front of the rock and go up to the plateau [map]. Stay on the way in southeastern direction, and pass the three rocks. Immediately after them, at the fork in the road, turn right in direction south, and go 450 m to the end of the deep, dry river valley with steep banks [map]. Once you have passed it, head southwest, where you will soon see a sign and, on the hill, the Ticket Control House, which is about 800 m away [map]. From here, it is easier to find the rest of the way to the beginning of the stairs, although it is hardly signposted.
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Compilation of information, editing, translations, photos: Universes in Universe, unless otherwise indicated