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Wadi Musa (Arabic: وادي موسى‎, literally "Valley of Moses") is a town located in the Ma'an Governorate in southern Jordan. It is the administrative center of the Petra Department[1] and the nearest town to the archaeological site of Petra. It hosts many hotels and restaurants for tourists, and there is an important Bedouin settlement approximately 2 kilometres (1 mi) from the town.

Wadi Mousa
وادي موسى
وادي موسى
Wadi Musa, Jordan.jpg
Wadi Mousa is located in Jordan
Wadi Mousa
Wadi Mousa
Coordinates: 30°19′11.96″N 35°28′42.37″E / 30.3199889°N 35.4784361°E / 30.3199889; 35.4784361Coordinates: 30°19′11.96″N 35°28′42.37″E / 30.3199889°N 35.4784361°E / 30.3199889; 35.4784361
Country Jordan
Province Ma'an Governorate
 • Total 7.36 km2 (2.84 sq mi)
  (excludes Al Hayy, an undeveloped residential zone)
Elevation 1,050-1,450 m (−3,700 ft)
Population (2009)[1]
 • Total 25,000
 • Density 3,400/km2 (8,800/sq mi)
Time zone GMT +2
 • Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)
Area code(s) +(962)3



Wadi Musa means "Valley of Moses" in Arabic. It is said that the prophet Moses passed through the valley and struck water from the rock for his followers at the site of Ain Musa ("Moses's water spring" or "Moses's Well").[2] The Nabateans built channels that carried water from this spring to the city of Petra. Wadi Musa was also nicknamed the "Guardian of Petra". The Tomb of Aaron, supposed burial site of the Biblical Aaron, the brother of Moses, is on nearby Mount Hor.


As of 2009, Wadi Musa's population was 17,085, with a male-to-female sex ratio of 52.1 to 47.9 (8,901 males and 8,184 females), making it the most populous settlement of the Petra Department.[1] As of the 2004 census, Petra Department, which includes Wadi Musa and 18 other villages, had a population of 23,840 inhabitants.[3] The population density of the town was 2.3 people per dunam, or 23 inhabitants per hectare (9.3/acre), and the population growth rate was 3.2%.[1]

Most of the town's population belongs to the Layathnah tribe, whose members play leading roles in the region's economy and politics and dominate the local tourism industry since the 20th century.[1]


The town is about 250 kilometres (160 mi) from Amman, Jordan's capital, and 100 kilometres (60 mi) north of the port city of Aqaba. With more than 50 hotels and many tourist restaurants, its economy is almost entirely tied to tourism.

The campus of the College of Archaeology, Tourism & Hotel Management of Al-Hussein Bin Talal University is located in Wadi Musa.



  1. ^ a b c d e f "The Strategic Master Plan for the Petra Region: Strategic Plan for WADI MUSA and surrounding areas" (PDF). Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority. June 2011. Archived from the original on 12 June 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Visiting Moses' Well
  3. ^ "Table 3.1 Distribution of Population by Category, Sex, Nationality, Administrative Statistical Divisions and Urban - Rural" (PDF). Population and Housing Census 2004. Department of Statistics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2016. 

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