Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Dating back over 2000 years, Petra was an ancient city of temples, tombs, obelisks, sacrificial altars and colonnaded streets, carved out of desert rock.
Once a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataean Empire, Petra later fell under the control of the Roman Empire and then was left abandoned until it was rediscovered in the 1800’s by European explorers.
Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1km in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80m high cliffs. At the end of the Siq you will find the Treasury, the location made famous in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Since then Petra has hosted a diversity of sci-fi, romance and historical fiction films, as well as numerous TV programmes and commercial shoots.
Other locations of note in the city include the monastery, pillars of the Hadrian Gate and the Cardo, a Roman-style theatre which could seat 3,000 people, and dozens of tombs of the Nabatean ruler Uneishu, as well as other fantastical tombs named the Obelisk, Urn and the Silk Tomb. New ruins continue to be found and excavated.
Within the site there are also two museums; the Petra Archaeological Museum, and the Petra Nabataean Museum.
Filming in Petra
Permits to film in Petra are required. Parts of the location are able to be locked off for filming. Allow at least two weeks for permitting. Entrance fees are required.
For shoots requiring an overnight, the town of Wadi Musa is a few minutes drive from Petra. This is the closest place to sleep crew and recharge camera batteries.
To avoid the extreme heat of summer, March to May or September to November are the best months to shoot. In terms of the time of day to film early morning is best to avoid the bus loads of tourists and strong sun glare around midday. Be sure to wear sun protection and bring something warmer for when the sun sets and desert temperatures fall. Petra by Night happens on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8.30pm.
Amman, located 4 hours drive away, is the closest production centre where local crew and equipment need to come from.
Jordan Production Support
Contact us if you are looking for a Jordanian film fixer or production service company. If you’d like to save on the costs of travelling everyone from home, we also have local Amman based shooting crew – directors, DoP’s, videographers, photographers – we could recommend for the specific needs of your shoot.
Images courtesy of Fluid Productions.