The city of Petra is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world and Jordan’s premier tourist attraction. Carved out of the mountains more than 2,000 years ago by then Nabataean Arabs, Petra is a unique example of an astonishing ancient civilization. Also known as the Rose City due to the color of the stone from which it is carved, and also the Lost City as it remained unknown to the western world until 1812. The first European to see it was a Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, who disguised himself as an Arab scholar. Petra was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
The nearest town, Wadi Musa (meaning ‘Valley of Moses’ in Arabic) acts as the gateway to the ancient city of Petra. It is here at Ain Nusa (Moses’ Spring) where Moses is said to have struck water from rock.
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Situated in south-central Jordan and spreading across 320 square kilometres, the Dana Biosphere Reserve is the largest in the country. The landscapes here, characterized by dramatic canyons, strangely shaped rock formations, rivers, and vast shrub-lands, provide a swoon-worthy location for hikers, thrill-seekers and photographers to indulge. A huge number of hikes of varying lengths and levels are on offer, with the most famous being the 19-kilometre Wadi Dathneh Trail, which trails through a serious descent over rocky terrain (hikers must be accompanied by a guide). Canyoning, mountain biking, star-gazing, bird watching and wildlife spotting are other popular activities. The park is home to 800 plant species and 449 animal species, including eagles, mountain gazelles, sand cats, red foxes, wolves, and more.