AMMAN — The rose-red city of Petra has ranked top in Lonely Planet’s, world’s leading publisher of the popular travel guides, latest Ultimate Travel List that featured 500 best must-see places.
According to Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel List released on Wednesday, Petra, some 220 kilometres south of Amman, has been named as “the number one place in the world to experience outdoor adventure”.
Also among the list are the Kingdom’s “otherworldly” rose-sand Wadi Rum desert, the Dead Sea and the Dana Biosphere Reserve, ranking 36, 139 and 221 respectively on the list of 500 global travel experiences.
“Historic and intriguing, Jordan enjoys a reputation as one of the safest and most welcoming countries in the Middle East,” Lonely Planet said in the second edition of the Ultimate Travel List which features the top 500 “most thrilling, memorable and interesting travel experiences in the world”.
Commended for its “eternal air of mystery”, the ancient sandstone city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was voted in as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World by popular ballot in 2007, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Wadi Rum or the “Valley of the Moon”, which ranked 36 on the list, featured in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, including “The Martian”, “Aladdin” and “Lawrence of Arabia”. The desert is best known for its red sands, majestic dunes and stunning rock formations.
The Dead Sea, which bagged the 136th spot, sits at 410m below sea level — the lowest point on earth — and is well known for its therapeutic benefits.
The fourth Jordanian attraction making the list is Dana Biosphere Reserve which covers some 320 square kilometres. The reserve, which is Jordan’s largest, is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including 703 plant species, 215 species of birds and 38 species of mammals, according to Petra.
Director General of the Jordan Tourism Board (JTB) Abdul Razzaq Arabiyat said that Petra’s snatching of the top position in a list issued by a reliable international institution is “a real achievement” for Jordan, highlighting the role of this ranking in attracting new tourists to Jordan, according to a board statement.
Jordan has eased tourist experience through giving the visitor a permit that includes the cost of a visa and access to the most important tourist sites through the unified ticket, he said.
Lonely Planet’s international travel website is one of the world’s most important references for providing inspiring and valuable content and information to all travel enthusiasts since 1973.
“The treasured UNESCO Heritage Site of Petra is the must-see ultimate experience on our list. Once nearly lost to the outside world, the sandstone city is now one of the most loved places on the planet, voted in as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World by popular ballot in 2007”, according to the Lonely Planet website.
Spread over some 264 sq km, Petra was constructed by the ancient Nabataeans, a civilisation of crafters and merchants, and made for a grand trade route stop-off between Arabian oases.
But generations later, after the city was abandoned, it was known only to the Bedouin who made the caves their home. The iconic Treasury, looming 39m high is most visitors’ first sight of the city, reached after a winding journey through a narrow water-etched slot canyon. Rediscover the city’s eternal air of mystery in the early morning or the hours before closing when it’s at its most atmospheric, according to the Lonely Planet website.