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Bedouins (بَدَوِيُّون) of Petra, Jordan


Bedouins (بَدَوِيُّون) of Petra, Jordan

Honestly, I hate to admit it, but I didn’t even know what a Bedouin was before I went to Jordan. I guess I have spent entirely too much time in a USA high school/college to even vaguely understand that these people still existed before now. Not only do they exist, but they also seem to thrive. I saw hundreds of bedouins inside the UNESCO world heritage site of PETRA.

Bedouins (بَدَوِيُّون) of Petra, Jordan

One Denar Girl

When I saw this cute little girl, I could not resist her, as she had the most beautiful little smile. She was a very pleasant little thing and could speak some English.

Bedouins (بَدَوِيُّون) of Petra, Jordan

The “one denar” girl

You can see that she got me right away with “One denar!” See those postcards in her arms, well they are now mine for “one denar”.

Bedouins of Petra, Jordan

The Bedouins are descendants of a nomadic tribe called the Nabatean. They are mentioned in the bible as people from Canaan. They have lived in Petra since prehistoric times and are descendants of the people who carved these magnificent structures into the side of mountains known as Petra.

Young One and his DadBedouins (بَدَوِيُّون) of Petra, Jordan

Now, just look at that little cutie and his Daddy! I couldn’t keep my eyes off of them. They walked and walked and walked the trails of Petra around the area where I was. The dad seemed so patient and kind to his little one. It was almost as if he was showing him off to us. He took him up high into the cliff dwellings and even lifted him up to a caucasian western male so that they could make it to the next level of dwellings.

Bedouins (بَدَوِيُّون) of Petra, Jordan

Relocation of Bedouins

In 1985,  when UNESCO came into Petra and took over the preservation of this magnificent prehistoric site, they built a village just outside of Petra for the relocation of most of the Bedouin families that lived there. In this village, they have electricity, water, houses, schools, telephone, internet, and other modern amenities for these families.

A Boy and his Grandfather

Take a look at this little cutie.  He was mesmerizing. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him either.  In a way, he seemed sad. He almost never moved and just sat there on that blanket with what appeared to be his grandfather playing the goatskin instrument called the Rabab with a bow.

A Rabab Instrument

A rabab player rests the instrument vertically on his knee and draws the bow across the string in a similar fashion to a cello player. It is a rectangular wooden frame fitted on both sides with goatskin. The rabab is played with a bow that is typically made of real horsehair.

This instrument is the essential melody instrument of the nomadic Bedouins; customarily played by the sha’ir, or poet-singer, to accompany heroically and love songs.

A real-life Johnny Depp!

100 Bedouins Families Live in Petra

There are still about 100 families who live inside Petra, in tents and caves. These people have camels, donkeys, horses, and goats, as well as mobile phones!

 Most of them work as tourist guides inside of Petra.

The women tend to sell jewelry and souvenirs and the children take travelers on their donkeys up and back to the Monastery or other various points within Petra.

From their smiling faces, I can see that

They are as curious about us as we are about them!

See my post on Petra At Night:

A candlelit night in Petra, Jordan: A night I will never forget

Recommended Reading about Jordan:

The Top Things to do in Jordan

Off to Jordan

Petra Jordan

Petra Jordan by Night

Aqaba, Jordan

Khol Eyeliner and the Evil Eye



Michele {Malaysian Meanders}

Sunday 10th of November 2013

Petra is on my bucket list of places to visit. I like that you've focused this post on the people of the area, the Bedouins. That one picture of the boy and man up on the ledge though made me think of how nervous I would have been if it had been myself and one of my kids when they were younger. I like that they have mobile phones even though the outer trappings are so traditional.

Cacinda Maloney

Sunday 10th of November 2013

The people of Jordan certainly make this place special. Not only the Bedouins, that are inside the walls of Petra, but also the Jordanians who work in the tourist industry and helped us with our hotel, rental car, food, etc. They are a very special group of people.


Thursday 7th of November 2013

You have a great selection of beautiful people shots. I hadn't appreciated that the Bedouins had been moved out of Petra so good to get a little education reading this post. Thank you.

Cacinda Maloney

Thursday 7th of November 2013

Thanks, yes, I think the people are some of the most interesting thing about this place!


Thursday 7th of November 2013

She's so adorable and with a smile that would melt the coldest heart. I love seeing children with their fathers. Very cute! Petra's been on my list, like forever! Thanks for reminding me that I must get off the sticks and just go already.

Cacinda Maloney

Thursday 7th of November 2013

Just go already! It is an amazing journey!


Wednesday 6th of November 2013

Great photos :)

Cacinda Maloney

Thursday 7th of November 2013

Thanks! This is one place that is easy to photograph!

Cacinda Maloney

Thursday 6th of December 2012

Crowne Plaza Resort sold the place and it is now called The Petra Guesthouse. Petra Moon is rated #1 on Tripadvisor and that is where we stayed. The location was perfect, as well as, the price and the breakfast was included. Also, our room was immaculate with modern conveniences, they were polite and the front desk guy even went with my husband to get gas in the rental car the last night,as it was difficult to tell him how to get there!!

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