One of the main monuments of Petra is the Monastery. After discovering the Siq, the Treasury and the Lower Street of Petra, if you are not too tired and hot, you can climb the 850 steps up to discover it. The place is well worth the effort! Below are some pictures to convince you and some info on the hike and its difficulty.
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The Climb to the Monastery
Al-Deir, alias the Monastery is the largest monument of Petra. Although very impressive, it is less known as more difficult to reach. Indeed, you need to climb roughly 850 steps to get the privilege to admire it. But it is worth it, and I am not the only one to say it.
So how difficult is the climb to the Monastery? Here is my experience:
I knew I wanted to see it and did a lot of research before to assess if I would be able to make it. I was really worried. I am overweight and not very fit so I looked up at reviews and websites talking about it. The result was that it was between 800 steps and 1000 according to different sites, that it would take 45 min and that a lot of pauses were recommended. My plan was the following: I took a lot of water, planned 2 hours for the climb to include a lot of pauses, started very early my visit of Petra to do the climb in the morning before the hottest hours of the day.
Some people use donkey to reach the top but I did not feel very safe at that idea and I read that some of them were not well treated.
I will conquer it on foot! So I turned right past the restaurant accross the bridge and walked in the sand until the beginning of the steps.
My impression is that it was not as hard as I expected. I took me 50 minutes (from the Museum to the monument) and I personally counted roughly 850 steps. The stairs are steady and large enough, not slippery at all. The only time I was a bit scared was when crossing path with a Donkey. At that moment I pushed myself against the wall and not against the cliff My knees started to ache after 350 steps so I was careful to well balance my climb.
Along the way a lot of women are selling jewelry, offering you some tea and encouraging you. I read a review from a woman who told one of the seller ‘later’ and then the women remembered when she went back on the way down and insisted that she take a look at her stand as she said she would. So I paid attention to just say no thank you in Arabic and was left alone.
The Treasury has this sense of mystery as it is in a small gorge. Although the Monastery does not have that, the effort to reach it makes it the best monument of all to my eyes! LOL. And check out the size of the people to get an idea of the scale of the building.
The Bar and Cave in front of the Monastery
At the top there is a bar with a nice cave to relax. They serve fresh fruit juices which are excellent. For rehydratation, I recommend eating chips and drinking juice. I felt better in the blink of an eye! I had lunch and rested there during the hottest hour of the day admiring this beautiful place.
But be aware, there are no toilets up there and no place to hide!
To the end of the world
After a while I decided to move on. There are 3 different view points that you can climb around here. Walking towards them gives interesting views of the Monastery and you can really realized how it is carved in the mountain.
Some locals considered the view there to be the end of the world. But everyone knows it is in the town I grew up in: Sainte Adresse in France…
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Do you think you are going to climb the steps?