Wadi Musa, Wadi Mousa, the Valley of Moses or the guardian of Petra is the town of choice for those needing a place to stay when visiting Petra, Jordan as it is the closest town to the ancient archaeological site. Tourists generally come to Wadi Musa on their way to or from Petra and not specifically to see Wadi Musa and the town caters well to the needs of tourists with numerous hotels and restaurants.
Wadi Musa was once a small Bedouin village where the nomads settled when they discovered the fertile land and water source. Gradually following the rediscovery of Petra and the influx of tourists the Bedouin and the town of Wadi Musa began focusing on the tourist industry which now accounts for almost all of the town’s income.
Wadi Musa gets its name from the story that this was the area where Moses hit a stone with his staff and water flowed out of it. The actual site of this miracle is at Ain Musa, Moses’ Well or Moses water spring. This is the spring which the ancient Nabatean civilization used as a source to bring water to the city of Petra.
Wadi Musa is in the Ma’an Governorate located in southern Jordan. Wadi Musa is east of Petra, 250km from Jordan’s capital Amman, 100km from the port of Aqaba, 15km south of Wadi Musa is the village of Taybeh and 2km from Wadi Musa is a Bedouin settlement. Also close by is “Little Petra” or Al Beidha which gained its nickname as it resembles “Big Petra” in several ways with tombs, monuments carved out of the cliffs and even streets and halls. Close by are the ruins of a pre-pottery Neolithic settlement.
In Wadi Musa you can enjoy browsing in the many small stores which sell both souvenirs, practical items like sunscreen and hats as well as clothes and food. You can change money in Wadi Musa enjoy a coffee in one of the cafes open to the street and visit the local market. Wadi Musa is home to the Collage of Archaeology, Tourism and Hotel Management of the Al-Hussein Bin Talal University. The Wadi Musa hotels range from luxurious Movenpick Hotel to the budget guesthouses and inns. To the north of Wadi Musa you can also find a campground. The restaurants in Wadi Musa line the main tourist street and offer cheap eats, traditional Middle Eastern dishes as well as the high end international cuisine in the hotel restaurants.
The spring that gave Wadi Musa its name is housed in a white building topped with a dome in Wadi Musa. Inside there is a well of spring water which you can drink from and you can see the spring water gushing forth and flowing out of the building.