Today Petra is again the center of attention, at least from a Middle Eastern perspective. In 1991 41,000 tourists visited Petra. In 1997 nearly ten times that number made the long trip through the canyon mouth to stand in awe before the Treasury, and then to move on through the ancient city streets lined with tombs, temples, and warehouses.
The country of Jordan borrowed some 23 million dollars from the World Bank to build new roads, tourist facilities and other infrastructure in Wadi Musa, the new boom town that has sprung up at the gate to Petra. While this did much to help the flow of tourist traffic, only a small amount was set aside for site preservation.
In 1993, Jordan set aside a hundred odd square miles of rugged canyon country as a national park. All through it are steep walled canyons and old caravan roads that once moved frankincense from Oman to Gaza, silk from China to the palaces of Rome and bracelets of gold from workshops in Aleppo to the markets of Yemen.
It is possible to arrange a tour to visit many of the major Nabataean sites. Tours to Petra are arranged from many places in the world, as well as within Jordan itself. The Internet advertises many of these tours. It is also possible for the average tourist to find their own way to Petra once they are visiting Jordan.
For those wishing to visit Nabataean sites, Petra is probably
the most important place to visit. There are numerous travel
guides that can help you on your visit, or you can hire a guide
at the Government Resthouse where the entrance fees to Petra
are to be paid.