Little PetraOctober 9, 2018 in Jordan ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C
We head to Siq al-Barid, commonly known as Little Petra, 9km north of Wadi Musa town. With its short, high gorge and familiar carved facades, it has similarities to it's big brother. However, although it sees its share of tour buses, is a lot less touristy than Petra.
A short way along the road there, we park on the shoulder for one of Petra’s best views. A breathtaking sweep over the central valley of the ancient city, with many of the monuments in view, dwarfed by the mountains, where a local Bedouin is also admiring it.
This whole area was a thriving community in Nabatean times, and there’s evidence in almost every cranny of Nabatean occupation. Just before you reach the Siq entrance, there’s a particularly striking facade on the right, with a strange, narrow passage for an interior.
As you enter, you’ll realize why this was dubbed Siq al-Barid (the “Cold Siq”): almost no sun can reach inside to warm the place. It’s only about 350m long, with alternating narrow and open sections, and differs from most areas of Petra, firstly in the density of carved houses, temples and triclinia, there are very few blank areas, and secondly in the endearingly quaint rock-cut stairs which lead off on all sides, turning it into a multistorey alleyway that must once have hummed with life. In the first open area is what was probably a temple, fronted by a portico, below which is a little rock-cut house. The second open area has four large triclinia, which could have been used to wine and dine merchants and traders on their stopover in Petra. A little further on the left, stairs climb up to the Painted House, a biclinium featuring one of the very few Nabatean painted interiors to have survived the centuries: on the ceiling at the back is a winged cupid with a bow and arrow; just above is a bird, to the left of which is a Pan figure playing a flute. The third open area culminates in rock-cut stairs which lead through a narrow gap out onto a wide flat ledge; the path drops down into the wadi (Petra is to the left), but you can scramble up to the right for some excellent views.Read more