The signature sight of Petra, Jordan’s signature sight, the Siq is a geological wonder: a stark rift in the land, smoothed by time into a scenic swirl of sandstone. The walls reach more than 500 feet (150 meters), while the path narrows to just 7 feet (2 meters), and the view of the Treasury at the end is one of the world’s great reveals.
The Siq is the most common approach to rose-red Petra, the lost city created by the mysterious Nabateans over 2,300 years ago. To enter the Siq, you’ll need a Petra admission ticket; the 2-day and 3-day tickets are excellent value compared to the single-day version. Besides, the site requires lengthy exploration.
Almost all Petra tours start by walking—or occasionally riding—down the Siq toward the Treasury. One particularly notable Siq tour is the Petra night tour, when flickering candles illuminate the canyon, creating a sense of mystery and drama. It’s worth visiting by day first to savor the Treasury reveal.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Even if you’re not hugely into history, the beauty of Petra makes it an absolute must-visit on any trip to Jordan.
- Bring your camera: As the sunlit pink stone of the Treasury comes into view between the towering walls of the Siq, it’s an incredible sight to behold.
- As you stroll the Siq, keep an eye out for the drainage systems and the niches where guards may have stayed.
How to Get There
You can reach Wadi Musa, the support town for Petra, by minibus from both Aqaba and Amman; the visitor center for Petra is a bit over a mile (2 kilometers) from the station. If you’d like to visit Petra as a day trip, an organized tour with door-to-door round-trip transfers is the most practical option. Note that the site is at least three hours away from Amman.
When to Get There
Beat the crowds by arriving as early as you can bear during Jordan’s tourist peaks: spring (mid-March to mid-May) and fall (mid-September to mid-November). The site opens at 6am year-round, and the best way to arrive early is to stay at one of the many hotels in Wadi Musa.
The Siq at Petra: Not Just a Canyon
While the Siq looks like a canyon—or an Arabic wadi—shaped by water carving a course through the landscape, it’s actually a geological fissure. The Siq was formed when tectonic forces split the land in two, and it’s been smoothed as water followed the line of the fault over the course of centuries.