Petra at Night

Petra Treasury through canyon at night

To see the Nabataean ruins of Petra by day is amazing (and I’ll write more about my trip there soon), but two times a week, there is an event at night that offers a beautiful and mysterious walk by candlelight into the mile-long chasm leading to the first marvelous ruin at Petra, the stone-carved facade of Al-Khaneh, a tomb known more commonly as the “Treasury.” Petra at night 1We arrived just after dark, with a few hundred other tourists. It had been a long day for me: two tough hikes inside Petra — to the ruins known as the Monastery, and up a climb to an overlook that looks down at the canyon and the Treasury — and my feet and legs were jellified. But once we entered the gates, I knew this was going to be a special evening. To get to the Al-Khaneh site involves a kilometer or more walk down a pathway and then into the sheer-walled canyon known as As-Siq. Petra at night 2At the end of that winding path is a view to the Treasury, peeking through the crack in the canyon walls. At the evening walk, candle-filled bags known as luminaria line the pathway and light up the natural stone hallway. With the clear night sky, and the near-full moon rising, I set my camera on long exposures and used a borrowed mini-tripod to capture a few images along the way.

Petra at night 6Once you arrive at the Treasury, the canyon opens up and the central area is filled with hundreds of candles, with the audience seated in a circle around the natural courtyard. Bedouin musicians play, and a haunting flute tune echoes around the canyon walls. Bedouin men serve the audience tea as they sit on woven mats in the candlelight.

Though I got quite a blister on the walk out after the third big hike of the day, it was an evening stroll well worth the injury.


VIDEO: To view some of my video of the Treasury (during daylight), click here. You’ll need quicktime player (downloadable for free online), and it may take a while to load. I’ll write more about Petra and the beautiful desert landscapes of Wadi Rum soon.


2 thoughts on “Petra at Night

  1. Willard Duff

    I would still be on the road to the place –If you got a blister I would have two raw feet and more than butt cramps.

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