[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]”It takes about 3-4 hours and ten people to light the 1500 candles” which pave the way from the Siq through to the Treasury our guide tells us as we walk leisurely on the same route the next morning. This time Petra is bathed in sunlight with a gorgeous blue sky above us. There’s a slight chill in the air, its quite cold for my Dubai acclimatised body, and I’m glad I’ve pulled on a few layers to keep warm. The air is fresh and clean in contrast to the slightly sandy, gritty air we sometimes have in Dubai. Less then twelve hours ago we made this walk by candle light weaving our way down the Sic Petra, to take part in the Petra by Night experience. The walk feels very different now, there are so many beautiful views and angles, to many if I’m honest as it feels like we can barely walk a few steps before stopping to take another photo, spotting a new angle, the sunlight lighting up the red limestone rocks surrounding us, a peak at other tourists, the Japanese group ahead of us with their umbrellas for sun protection, the mules and donkeys surrounding us offering us trips, the greenery, the goats, the sky…..
On Petra – It’s beautiful, it’s awe inspiring, it’s simply stunning and beyond words.
But first, back to Petra by night. Arriving at our hotel at 8pm we hurriedly changed and walked towards the visitor centre where we started our walk towards the Treasury. The sky is cloudy but bathed with speckled moonlight and we follow a well worn path which is lit up at regular intervals by candles set in tea light bags. At first the path is wide and we can just make out the odd cave along either side of the walk, we’re overtaken by people who are walking faster than us, and there’s a convivial atmosphere surrounding us, the odd stumble on the shale often comes with a friendly “are you ok?” from somewhere along the route, we are and we carry on down towards The Treasury with the walls getting closer and closer towards us.
As the trip continues, the cold starts to seep into our bodies and I’m glad that I have layers of clothes keeping me warm, but as long as you keep moving it’s not too bad (wrap up warm if you are not used to the cold and wear sensible shoes if you want to make better timing than we did).
We are surrounded by cliffs, caves and interesting views but for now, we hurry ever downwards following the candles towards the Treasury for the full Petra by night experience. Finally after what seems like a long time, but was probably 45 minutes or so, we arrive at the Treasury which is completely bathed in candles. We get our first glimpse through a cleft in the rock and it’s mesmerising. Before us stands the Treasury, tall and majestic and infant of us just a sea of candles flickering and casting a rosey orange glow of light ahead of us.
Groups sit on the arabic carpets in well organised sections waiting for the show to start, and we are seated on a cold concrete slab (penance for being the last perhaps?). I’m not sure what to expect, this time I’ve done no research so am unprepared. Just as we settle on our space, the show starts and everyone sits in silence enjoying a low tech and beautiful show which consists of a Beduin musician playing his pipe with soft music (like a flute) as first he sits and then he wanders though the candles, this is following by another Beduin telling a story, meanwhile other Beduins walk softly amongst the group distributing sweet beduin tea which provides a welcome shot of warmth. Once the show has finished the audience are free to wander through the candles and to take photos, chat to the Beduins and generally let the whole experience sink in.
All too soon, and actually at the same point as the cold has really seeped into your bones, the show is over and it’s time to start the walk in reverse slowly gaining height and leaving behind the Treasury for a a visit the very next day.
On reflection, I was glad not to have done my research on what to expect, part of me expected a laser light show with music and to see the Treasury bathed in light, part of me had no idea what to expect. What I did find was something quite magical, simple in execution yet elegant and awesome for impact. This isn’t a place for great shots, as the photos here will tell, but what I had was a beautiful memorable experience that left me wanting for more.
https://youtu.be/LeoVPbzIsY4″ title=”Petra by Night | Flute
https://youtu.be/aGBIONeTo18″ title=”Petra by Night | Story Telling
Petra by Night operates three nights a week, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Entry is 8.30 pm and should end about 10.30 pm. Tickets cost 17 Jordanian Dinars per person (AED90/£17).
Disclaimer | I was in Jordan as part of an Influencer trip sponsored by Movenpick, all views and images are my own. One night in a double room during March 2016 costs approx 650 AED/125 JD or £125 including breakfast when booked directly with the hotel. A flight to Jordan from Dubai via Royal Jordanian Airways costs approx 2000 AED/£385