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Winter Solstice in Petra in Jordan

As the sun rolls down the sky a miracle occurs in the Hidden City revealing the most sacred sites

Winter Solstice in Petra

The ancient city of pink sands, tombs, plentiful monuments, and stone cliffs used to be part of the Nabatean Kingdom many years ago. People call Petra the "Hidden City" as 85% of it is supposedly still unexcavated. Some also call it a "Huge Marvel" referring to the unusual sun illumination occurring annually in December. It is amazing to believe that the temple was designed in ancient times so that during winter solstice its altar is spotlit. Surely it's no coincidence! Perhaps they spent years constructing the buildings and observing the sun in the sky. Anyways, Petra is one of the most unique sites in the whole world. You'll be impressed by it at any time of the year. But mind that in summer it get really hot, while in the winter harsh winds and desert storms are possible. And, of course, the best time to experience its beauty and mystery is during the winter solstice that occurs between December 21 and 23.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Petra?

Petra is open all year round, but it's advisable to visit in December's winter solstice between 21st to 23rd. During this time, the temple's altar is spotlit, which reveals the most sacred sites. The peak season is in March to May and September to November due to the milder weather and fewer tourists. Visiting during summer can be uncomfortable due to the heat and crowd, while winter can be harsh with winds and storms. Show more

What is the Winter Solstice in Petra?

The winter solstice in Petra is the occasion when the temple's opening aligns with the sun, illuminating the altar and the sacred sites. It occurs annually between December 21 to 23. This occurrence confirms the Nabatean's intelligence in astronomy and exceptional architectural experience, revealing a remarkable sight that is undoubtedly worth seeing. Show more

What is the Nabatean Kingdom?

The Nabatean Kingdom was an Arab kingdom that existed before the Roman empire from 4th century BC until 106 AD. Its capital was Petra, a center of culture, trade, and religion. Petra's position at the intersection of several trade routes attribute to the kingdom's power and wealth. They were well-known for building their infrastructure and water management systems that allowed them to thrive in the harsh desert environment. Show more

What is the weather like in Petra in summer?

Due to the hot and arid nature of the place, summers in Petra are scorching, with temperatures exceeding 35°C (95°F) in July and August. You should carry enough sunscreens and water, wear light clothes that cover your skin, and prepare yourself to handle crowds and overheating if you decide to visit during summer. Show more

Is the 85% unexcavated part of Petra safe for visitors?

The unexcavated areas covering 85% of Petra are safe for visitors since they are considerably far from the main tourist's hotspots. However, visitors must take precautions because desert environments are unpredictable and may have some potential risks. Some of the ancient sites may have rough and unstable surfaces, making visitors vulnerable to falls and injury. It is advisable to avoid areas or sites marked as unsafe by the guides or signs. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin