I can barely see before me as the walls appear to snake in and out. I gingerly take each step carefully, unsure of the direction I am walking. All I can hear are footsteps and the sound of our voices as they echo from the high canyon walls. I feel as though I’m stuck in a computer game, looking for the exit but with no vision to see.
‘Are we going the right way?’ I ask but no one seems to know.
There are no stars and the night sky barely lights the way. Just hours before, this ancient city of Petra in Jordan was bustling with hoards of tourists and sellers. Now, it is empty except for five Americans and one English girl.
I have just taken the last donkey ride and the place is deserted. When I entered the ‘Red-Rose City’ five hours ago, little did I know that I would be one of the last people to leave this historical site.
Petra attracts hoards of visitors each year and is the main attraction in Jordan. Known as the ‘Red Rose’ city, this sandstone carved site is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Last year marked the 2000th year of rediscovery of this ancient city that once belonged to the Nabataean civilisation.
It is a place of timeless beauty with a kaleidoscope of colours and royal tombs. The Treasury itself is enough to leave you breathless before climbing the 800 steps to the Monastery that stands 50 metres tall. Night tours are held by candlelight on Mondays and Thursdays but being there at dusk is just as magical in this heritage site, half as old as time. But if the hike around the sites are too much, take a leaf out of my book and take a leisurely donkey ride, only make sure that you actually leave enough time to get out before darkness sets on this vast historical city or you may find yourself as we did – lost within a lost civilisation…
Entry to Petra isn’t cheap and will cost 50 Jordanian Dinar for a day pass or 55 JD for two days but the proceeds go to the Queen Eilah humanitarian fund and the local Bedouins. If you have the time, explore Little Petra – the more unknown part of the site where you can avoid the crowds.