Siq or the Canyon
The Siq is a natural 1.2 km long sandstone gorge that gently winds towards the ancient city of Petra until it opens on to the magnificent Treasury. A triumphal arch once spanned the entrance to the Siq, but it collapsed in 1895. On either side of the arch there were niches where statues of gods were placed. Water channels ran along each side and held clay pipes that carried fresh water to the city from springs, sections of these pipes can still be seen. Parts of the original paved road can also be seen along the Siq. In its days, Petra was a bustling city that witnessed a constant procession of travelers, visitors and pilgrims, who passed through the Siq. Niches & god blocks (baetyls) were carved throughout the Siq to protect those entering and leaving the city.
On the way to Petra city
After booking with us we will confirm your trip via e-mail, you will receive a confirmation email with the excursion details and pick time. Depending on your hotel location pick up will be between 02:00 am and 02:30 am. We do pickups from all hotels in Sharm el Sheikh. You will be taken by a big bus to Taba Heights Marine port, on the way you will have a stop at Dahab for 20 minutes and then continue the journey to the port. At Taba Heights port you will cross the border and then catch a ferry to Aqaba city of Jordan. To cross the Gulf of Aqaba will take just 45 minutes, so you will be at Aqaba around 8 am. Clearing the borders at Jordan may take some time, after you finish your customs our English speaking guide will meet you & accompany to Petra city. It will take 2 more hours from Aqaba by bus to reach the location.
Walk through the Siq
This Nabataean capital is hidden among high rocks, so to reach it we will need to pass a canyon called Siq. The canyon is 1,2 kilometers long but to reach it you need to walk some distance. You can take a horse until the entrance of the Siq as it is included in the entrance fee of Petra park. Siq or the canyon is a natural geological structure formed from a deep split in the sandstone rocks and serving as a waterway flowing into Wadi Mosses.
The walk through the canyon takes up to 1 hour so if you are not comfortable with walking we would recommend to take a carriage from the beginning of the canyon, it costs 30$ and accommodates 2 people. Walking through the canyon is a great experience, you will enjoy beautiful colours, different structures as well as see the remaining of ancient Nabataean aqueduct and some other ancient structures and caves.
The Khazna or Treasury
At the end of the Siq you will find a goal of your trip - The Khazna or Treasury. Al-Khazna in Arabic, is the most spectacular monument carved by the Nabataeans. It stands an imposing 39,5 high & is impressively carved out of a single block. The monument's name comes from a local Bedouin legend that pharaoh hid a treasure in the urn at the top, and you can see bullets holes from shooting at the urn to try to retrieve this treasure.
In reality it is a mausoleum & would have been used for funerary purposes; many archeologists believe it is the mausoleum of King Aretas IV (9 BC - 40AD). The Nabataeans decorated the façades of the tombs with funerary designs and symbols related to the afterlife & death.
The facade of the Treasury reveals a Hellenistic influence, with six Corinthian capitals topped by a frieze of winged griffins and vases among scrolls. In the center of the facade is the goddess Isis, and she is surrounded by dancing Amazons (female warriors) with axes over their heads. At the top of the steps just before you enter the chamber, there is a circular hole in the floor which was most probably used for sacrifices.
In 2004 three Nabataean tombs were uncovered below the Treasury, which date to the end of the 1st century BC and have been identified as royal tombs. But the treasury is just the beginning of Petra city discovery.
Walk inside the city
Let’s continue our journey and discover some more treasures of Petra city. Our next stop will be at the Theatre but before we reach it we will pass many caves and tombs which are located on the both sides of the mountains that surround the city. Some of the caves & tombs are high in the rocks some are closer so you can take an effort to climb and see them closer.
Although Petra's theatre is Graeco-Roman in design, the complex originated with the Nabataeans. The theater may date to the early 1st century AD, during the reign of King Aretas IV, when Petras urban character took shape. It consists of an auditorium with a semicircular orchestra & an ascending horseshoe-shaped seating area with vertical stairways divided into three levels by horizontal passageways. It also featured a stage wall, added by the Romans, which shielded the orchestra and served as a theatrical backdrop.
If you still have enough power after all that walk you can reach these beautiful tombs which are located up, so you will have to climb many steps to reach them.
Four grand tombs of the Khubtha Ridge overlook Petra's city center. Their elaborate architecture & prominent locations suggest that they held families from Petra's uppermost social stratum, or royalty. As these prominent monuments have no inscriptions to identify them, they have been given monikers based on their characteristic features. From right to left you will find: the Urn Tomb, Silk Tomb, Corinthian tomb, and Palace tomb.
At this point we would suggest to finish the tour and go back to the meeting point. If you are tied you can take a carriage back or a donkey.
Lunch time & back to Sharm el Sheikh
Next thing to do will be getting something to eat so your guide will take you straight to a local restaurant just 5 minutes ride far from Petra city. After lunch we will go back to Aqaba, visit some bazaars before the ferry. The ferry back is scheduled at 6pm, so you will pass the border and then get into the ferry and back to Taba Heights port. Forty five minutes more an you are back in Egypt, clearing the customs will take some time and then our bus will be already waiting for us to take us back to Sharm el Sheikh.