Welcome to Little Petra, a hidden gem nestled in the rocky landscapes of Jordan. Often overshadowed by its famous neighbor, Petra, Little Petra offers a unique and authentic experience for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in ancient history and breathtaking natural beauty.
Located just a short drive from the main Petra archaeological site, Little Petra, also known as Al-Beidha, is a small but significant archaeological complex that dates back over 9,000 years. This ancient city served as a crucial stop along the trade routes of the Nabateans, an Arab civilization that once thrived in this region.
Unlike its grand counterpart, Little Petra offers a more intimate and tranquil setting, allowing visitors to explore its well-preserved structures without the crowds. The site is characterized by its narrow siq (canyon), intricately carved facades, and stunning rock formations, all contributing to its undeniable charm and allure.
As you step into this historical wonderland, you will be transported back in time, surrounded by the echoes of ancient civilizations. From the dramatic rock-cut architecture to the intricate carvings and frescoes, every corner unveils a fascinating story waiting to be discovered.
Whether you are an avid history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique travel experience, Little Petra promises to captivate your senses and leave an indelible mark on your journey through Jordan.
In this article, we will guide you through the wonders of Little Petra, sharing insider tips on how to get there, what to see, and essential information to make the most of your visit. So, fasten your seatbelt and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the enchanting world of Little Petra.
Getting to Little Petra
Reaching Little Petra is relatively straightforward, with several transportation options available.
If you are already in Petra, getting to Little Petra is a breeze. The site is located only around 15 kilometers north of Petra’s main entrance. You can hire a taxi from Petra for a convenient and hassle-free transfer. The journey takes approximately 20 minutes, depending on traffic.
If you are arriving from Amman or other cities in Jordan, the most common way to reach Little Petra is by car. You can rent a car and drive yourselves, following Highway 15 towards Wadi Musa, the town that encompasses the Petra archaeological site. From there, it’s a short drive north to Little Petra.
If you prefer not to drive, you can arrange for a private tour or join a guided tour that includes a visit to Little Petra. Many tour operators in Jordan offer day trips to Petra and Little Petra, allowing you to explore both sites in one package.
Another option is taking a public bus from Petra or Amman to the nearby town of Wadi Musa. From there, you can hire a taxi or arrange for a local guide to take you to Little Petra.
It’s important to note that Little Petra does not have its own entrance fee. Instead, your Petra ticket will grant you access to both Petra and Little Petra, so be sure to keep your ticket handy when visiting.
Once you arrive at Little Petra, you’ll find a parking lot where you can leave your vehicle if you’re driving. From there, it’s a short walk to the entrance of the site. It’s advisable to wear comfortable shoes and bring a water bottle, as you’ll be doing some walking and exploring within the site.
Now that you know how to get to Little Petra, let’s dive into the incredible experiences that await you as you explore this archaeological treasure.
Exploring Little Petra
Once you arrive at Little Petra, prepare to be amazed by the awe-inspiring beauty and history that unfolds before you. This archaeological gem offers a variety of sights and attractions to explore, each with its own unique charm.
As you enter the site, you’ll find yourself walking through a narrow siq, reminiscent of the iconic siq in Petra. This canyon leads you deeper into the heart of Little Petra, setting the stage for the wonders that lie ahead.
One of the highlights of Little Petra is the collection of intricately carved facades that line the siq walls. These stunning rock-cut structures are thought to have served as residences, workshops, and perhaps even small temples. Marvel at the delicate details and craftsmanship that have withstood the ravages of time.
As you continue along the siq, you’ll reach the main open area of Little Petra, known as the Street of Facades. Here, you’ll find a row of larger facades, some of which showcase unique architectural features, such as niches and decorative elements.
From the Street of Facades, you can explore further into the site and discover more hidden treasures. The lower part of Little Petra, also known as the Siq Al-Barid Trail, is a must-visit. This trail takes you through a narrow gorge, revealing more facades and providing a sense of adventure.
At the end of the Siq Al-Barid Trail, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular sight – the Treasury. Though not as grand as the Treasury in Petra, this smaller scale version is equally captivating. Take a moment to admire the architectural beauty and imagine the stories that this ancient structure holds.
Another notable attraction in Little Petra is the Royal Tombs. These elaborate burial chambers, carved into the cliff faces, were reserved for the elite members of society. Their grandeur and intricate designs are a testament to the wealth and power of the Nabateans.
For the more adventurous souls, a hike up to the Monastery is highly recommended. This uphill trek offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes and rewards you with the sight of the Monastery, one of the largest and most impressive structures in Little Petra. Be prepared for some challenging terrain, but the experience is well worth the effort.
Exploring Little Petra is an immersive journey through history and natural beauty. Take your time as you wander through the pathways, marvel at the carvings, and soak in the peaceful atmosphere that emanates from this ancient city.
Continue reading to discover other hidden gems and tips for making the most of your visit to Little Petra.
The Siq Al-Barid Trail
The Siq Al-Barid Trail, also known as “Little Petra,” offers a unique and immersive experience within the larger Little Petra complex. This lesser-known trail takes you on a journey through stunning rock formations, hidden caves, and intriguing facades, providing a glimpse into the lives of the Nabateans who once inhabited this area.
The trail starts at the end of the main siq and continues for approximately 2 kilometers. As you venture along the trail, you’ll be surrounded by towering cliffs and mesmerizing rock formations, creating a sense of awe and wonder. The narrow passageways and high walls add a touch of mystery to the experience, making you feel like an explorer uncovering ancient secrets.
One of the highlights of the Siq Al-Barid Trail is the abundance of carved facades and structures. These architectural gems reveal the artistic and engineering skills of the Nabateans, with each facade bearing unique carvings and decorations. Take your time to admire the intricate details and imagine the stories behind each masterpiece.
The trail also features several hidden caves that were once used as dwellings and storage spaces. These caves provide a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who once called this place home. Explore these caves and imagine the bustling activities that once took place within their rocky walls.
Along the Siq Al-Barid Trail, you’ll also come across various rock-cut staircases and passages that lead to different levels and viewpoints. These vantage points offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes, providing a moment of tranquility and appreciation for the natural beauty that encompasses Little Petra.
As you traverse the Siq Al-Barid Trail, keep an eye out for the numerous water cisterns that dot the area. These ancient water storage systems were vital for the survival of the Nabateans in this arid region. Marvel at the ingenuity of their engineering as you observe these historical remnants.
The Siq Al-Barid Trail offers a unique opportunity to explore the lesser-known corners of Little Petra. It provides a more intimate and secluded experience compared to the main areas, allowing you to connect with the history and natural landscapes on a deeper level.
Remember to bring sturdy walking shoes, plenty of water, and sunscreen when embarking on the Siq Al-Barid Trail, as the terrain can be uneven and the sun can be intense. Take your time to soak in the surroundings, breathe in the crisp air, and appreciate the beauty of this hidden gem within Little Petra.
Continue reading to discover more captivating sights and attractions within Little Petra.
The Treasury, or Al-Khazneh in Arabic, is one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring structures in the ancient city of Petra. It is a masterpiece of Nabatean architecture and a must-see attraction for any visitor to Little Petra.
Situated at the end of the Siq, the Treasury stands tall and proud, carved into the vibrant rose-colored sandstone cliffs. Its intricate facades and ornate details leave visitors in awe of the skill and craftsmanship of the Nabatean people who constructed it over 2,000 years ago.
The Treasury gets its name from the local Bedouin folklore that suggests it serves as a hidden treasure chest, with legends of hidden riches and lost treasures. Exploring the Treasury and its surroundings, you can’t help but get caught up in the mystery and wonder of this ancient structure.
As you approach the Treasury, you’ll be mesmerized by the intricate details etched into the façade. Intricate carvings, columns, and statues greet you, depicting various mythological figures and scenes from Nabatean life. The grandeur and size of the Treasury are truly breathtaking, leaving a lasting impression on all who lay eyes on it.
It’s worth taking the time to explore the surrounding area of the Treasury as well. You’ll find small booths selling local handicrafts, souvenirs, and refreshments. Take a moment to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and maybe indulge in a cup of traditional Bedouin tea.
To truly appreciate the beauty of the Treasury, consider visiting at different times of the day. The soft morning light creates a magical glow, while the afternoon sun casts dramatic shadows, highlighting the intricate carvings. Some visitors even choose to visit at night when the Treasury is illuminated by candlelight, creating a truly enchanting experience.
Keep in mind that the Treasury is just one of the many remarkable structures within Little Petra. As you explore the site further, you’ll encounter more fascinating facades, tombs, and architectural marvels that showcase the rich history and cultural heritage of the Nabatean civilization.
Remember to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the Treasury and take your time to soak in the remarkable details and historical significance of this majestic structure. The Treasury is a true testament to the dazzling architectural achievements of the Nabateans and should not be missed during your visit to Little Petra.
Continue reading to learn about the other captivating points of interest within Little Petra.
The Royal Tombs
Located within the captivating landscape of Little Petra are the Royal Tombs, a collection of elaborate burial chambers carved into the soaring cliffs. These majestic tombs bear witness to the wealth and prominence of the ancient Nabatean rulers who once inhabited this area.
The Royal Tombs are a testament to the architectural prowess of the Nabateans, showcasing their ability to sculpt rock with precision and create intricate facades adorned with ornate details. Each tomb is unique in design, reflecting the individuality and status of its occupant.
Among the notable tombs in the complex is the Urn Tomb, known for its grand scale and impressive façade. The Urn Tomb derives its name from the tall urn-shaped structure that crowns the tomb, adding to its regal appearance. Marvel at the fine craftsmanship of the carvings and decorative elements adorning the tomb.
Another remarkable tomb is the Silk Tomb, named for the vibrant colors and patterns that once adorned its walls. Although faded over time, you can still imagine the beauty and opulence that once graced this resting place. Take a moment to appreciate the delicate details and the intricate designs that remain.
The Corinthian Tomb, with its massive columns and Corinthian capitals, stands as a testament to the influence of Greek and Roman architectural styles on the Nabateans. Admire the blending of cultures and the artistry that went into creating these stunning structures.
As you explore the Royal Tombs, you’ll also come across smaller burial chambers and niches, each contributing to the grandeur and historical significance of the complex. Take your time to wander through the complex, imagining the rich history and stories that lie within these hallowed walls.
The Royal Tombs not only serve as a reminder of the regal past but also offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. From certain vantage points, you can witness the beauty of Little Petra and the rugged mountains that encapsulate this ancient city. The juxtaposition of nature and man-made structures creates a truly remarkable sight.
Remember to bring your camera and capture the magnificence of the Royal Tombs. These architectural wonders are a crucial part of the Little Petra experience and offer a glimpse into the opulence and grandeur of the Nabatean civilization.
As you continue your journey through Little Petra, be sure to explore other intriguing sites, such as the Monastery and the Siq Al-Barid Trail, which offer their own unique stories and captivating views. Little Petra is a treasure trove of history and natural beauty, waiting to be discovered and cherished by visitors from around the world.
Perched high atop a cliff, the Monastery, also known as Ad Deir, is one of the most impressive and rewarding sites to visit in Little Petra. This monumental structure, carved into the rugged rock face, offers a breathtaking and rewarding trek for adventurous explorers.
To reach the Monastery, you’ll embark on a challenging hike up a series of rocky steps and winding trails. The trek may be physically demanding, but the effort pays off as you ascend towards this architectural marvel.
As you approach the Monastery, you’ll notice the sheer size and scale of the structure. Standing at a towering height of almost 50 meters, it rivals the Treasury in Petra. The facade is adorned with intricate carvings, with hints of Byzantine influence, showcasing the rich cultural influences that permeated the Nabatean civilization.
Take a moment to catch your breath and absorb the stunning panoramic views that unfold before you. The Monastery’s lofty position provides a commanding vista of the surrounding desert landscapes, offering a serene and awe-inspiring experience.
Step inside the Monastery to discover its vast interior. Unlike the Treasury, the Monastery’s main chamber is relatively austere, devoid of ornate decorations. However, its sheer size and the simplicity of its design evoke a sense of grandeur and reverence.
While at the Monastery, seize the opportunity to rest and recharge. There are several small cafés and vendors nearby where you can pause for a cup of traditional Bedouin tea or indulge in local delicacies, all while soaking in the extraordinary views.
If you’re feeling energized, explore the surrounding area beyond the Monastery. There are additional trails to hike and secluded viewpoints to discover, providing further glimpses into the rugged beauty of Little Petra.
For an unforgettable experience, consider visiting the Monastery during the golden hours of sunrise or sunset. The soft light illuminates the sandstone facade, creating a magical glow that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Keep in mind that the hike to the Monastery can be challenging, so wearing sturdy hiking shoes and bringing plenty of water are essential. Take it slow and enjoy the journey, pausing along the way to appreciate the unique geological formations and the tranquility of the natural surroundings.
The Monastery is a testament to the architectural genius and perseverance of the Nabateans. Its remote location and imposing presence make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.
As your exploration of Little Petra continues, be sure to uncover other hidden gems, such as the Siq Al-Barid Trail and the Royal Tombs, to complete your journey through this captivating ancient city.
Other Points of Interest in Little Petra
Beyond the main attractions of the Siq Al-Barid Trail, the Treasury, the Royal Tombs, and the Monastery, Little Petra offers a wealth of other fascinating points of interest to explore. These lesser-known sites add depth to your visit and provide a comprehensive understanding of the rich history and culture of the Nabateans.
One such site is the Lion Triclinium, an impressive structure adorned with reliefs depicting lions. This dining hall is believed to have been used for banquets and gatherings, showcasing the opulence and grandeur of Nabatean society during its heyday.
Another intriguing site is the Painted House, a small building adorned with remnants of colorful frescoes. Though faded over time, these murals provide a glimpse into the artistic tastes and decorative traditions of the Nabateans. Take a moment to appreciate the delicate brushwork and imagine the vibrant scenes that once adorned the walls.
The Garden Triclinium is another noteworthy site, featuring a courtyard surrounded by several seating areas. This space is thought to have been used for gatherings and social events, offering a glimpse into the leisurely activities of the Nabateans.
Take a moment to explore the small dwellings and caves scattered throughout Little Petra. These humble abodes give insight into the daily lives of the Nabatean people, offering a glimpse into their domestic routines and the challenges they faced in this rugged environment.
As you wander around, keep an eye out for various rock formations and natural marvels. The diverse geological features, such as towering cliffs, winding canyons, and unique rock formations, create a mesmerizing backdrop for your journey through Little Petra.
While exploring these lesser-known sites, it’s important to be respectful of the archaeological heritage and to avoid touching or damaging the fragile structures. These remnants of the past hold significant historical value and should be preserved for future generations to appreciate.
Remember to allocate ample time to explore these additional points of interest in Little Petra. While not as famous as the main attractions, they contribute to the overall allure and cultural richness of this ancient city.
As you continue your exploration of Little Petra, you’ll uncover hidden stories, architectural wonders, and natural beauty that make it an unforgettable destination. So, strap on your walking shoes, open your mind to the mysteries of the past, and let Little Petra captivate you with its treasures.
Hiking and Outdoor Activities
Little Petra offers a wealth of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. The rugged terrain and breathtaking landscapes make it an ideal destination for hiking and exploring the great outdoors.
One of the most popular hiking trails in Little Petra is the Al-Beidha Mountain Trail. This scenic trail takes you on a challenging ascent up the surrounding mountains, offering panoramic views of the entire Little Petra complex and the surrounding desert landscapes. The hike requires a moderate level of fitness and sturdy footwear, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
For a more leisurely stroll, consider the Little Petra Nature Walk, which takes you on a gentle path through the picturesque landscapes surrounding the archaeological site. This walk allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region, admire the vibrant flora, and listen to the sounds of nature.
If you’re up for a longer adventure, consider embarking on a multi-day trek through the surrounding wilderness. You can arrange for guided hikes that take you through the remote and unexplored areas, allowing you to experience a truly immersive and off-the-beaten-path adventure.
Aside from hiking, Little Petra also offers opportunities for rock climbing and bouldering. The towering cliffs and rocky formations provide excellent terrain for climbers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, there are routes available to challenge and thrill you.
When engaging in outdoor activities, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and preparedness. Ensure you have the appropriate clothing, footwear, and equipment for your chosen activity. Stay hydrated, carry a map or GPS, and inform someone about your plans before venturing off on a hike or climbing excursion.
Additionally, the weather in Little Petra can be unforgiving, especially during the summer months when temperatures soar. Plan your outdoor activities accordingly, opting for early morning or late afternoon hikes to avoid the intense heat.
Lastly, be respectful of the environment and cultural heritage while engaging in outdoor activities. Little Petra is an archaeological site with significant historical value, and it’s important to minimize your impact by sticking to designated trails, avoiding littering, and refraining from damaging or removing any artifacts.
Embrace the spirit of adventure and make the most of the natural wonders that Little Petra has to offer. Whether you’re hiking, climbing, or exploring the rugged landscapes, the outdoor activities in Little Petra are sure to create unforgettable memories and connect you with the enchanting beauty of this historical site.
Local Culture and Cuisine
Exploring the local culture and cuisine of Little Petra is an essential part of immersing yourself in the vibrant tapestry of this historical site. As you wander through the narrow paths and interact with the friendly locals, you’ll discover a rich heritage deeply rooted in the traditions of the Bedouin people.
The Bedouin culture is known for its hospitality and warm welcome. Take the time to engage with the local community, learn about their way of life, and gain insights into their customs and traditions. You may have the opportunity to participate in a traditional tea ceremony, where you can savor the delicious and aromatic Bedouin tea while engaging in lively conversations with the locals.
Sampling the local cuisine is a must-do experience in Little Petra. Traditional Bedouin dishes are characterized by their use of simple ingredients and bold flavors. One iconic dish you shouldn’t miss is mansaf, a flavorful and fragrant dish consisting of succulent lamb cooked in a yogurt sauce and served on a bed of rice. Be sure to savor the flavors and appreciate the cultural significance behind this beloved dish.
Another staple of Bedouin cuisine is zarb, a traditional Bedouin barbecue feast. The food is cooked underground for several hours, resulting in tender and succulent meat infused with smoky flavors. It’s a communal dining experience that brings people together and breaks bread in the true Bedouin style.
When exploring the local markets in Little Petra, you’ll find an array of handicrafts and souvenirs that reflect the skilled craftsmanship of the Bedouin people. From intricate silver jewelry to hand-woven rugs and embroidered textiles, these unique items make for meaningful keepsakes of your visit.
To truly appreciate the cultural heritage of the Bedouin people, consider staying in a traditional Bedouin camp. These camps offer an authentic and immersive experience, allowing you to sleep in comfortable tents, partake in traditional activities such as camel rides and stargazing, and enjoy authentic Bedouin meals under the starlit sky.
While interacting with the locals and experiencing the local culture, it is important to show respect and sensitivity to their customs and traditions. Dress modestly, ask for permission before taking photographs of people, and engage in cultural exchanges with an open mind and respectful attitude.
Exploring the local culture and savoring the traditional cuisine of Little Petra will enhance your overall experience, allowing you to forge a deeper connection with this enchanting place and its remarkable people.
Tips for Visiting Little Petra
Visiting Little Petra can be an unforgettable experience, filled with history, natural beauty, and cultural immersion. To help make your trip smoother and more enjoyable, here are some useful tips:
- Plan your visit in advance: Research the opening hours, ticket prices, and any special events or restrictions at Little Petra. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure a seamless visit.
- Wear comfortable clothing and footwear: Little Petra involves walking and exploring, so it’s essential to dress appropriately. Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing, and wear comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots.
- Stay hydrated: Remember to carry a water bottle with you, especially during the warmer months when temperatures can soar. Staying hydrated is key to enjoying your visit and avoiding dehydration.
- Protect yourself from the sun: Little Petra is predominantly outdoors, so sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses are essential to protect yourself from the intense desert sun.
- Bring a camera: Little Petra offers countless opportunities for stunning photographs. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the architectural wonders, natural landscapes, and cultural moments during your visit.
- Respect the rules and heritage: Little Petra is an archaeological site of great importance. Respect the rules, stay on designated paths, and avoid touching or damaging any structures or artifacts.
- Engage with the locals: Interacting with the local community can enrich your experience. Respect their customs and traditions, ask before taking photographs of people, and engage in cultural exchanges with an open mind.
- Consider guided tours: To gain deeper insights and learn about the history and significance of Little Petra, consider hiring a knowledgeable guide. They can offer valuable information and enhance your overall understanding of the site.
- Check weather conditions: The weather in Little Petra can fluctuate, so it’s wise to check the forecast before your visit. This will help you plan your activities accordingly and ensure a comfortable experience.
- Be mindful of your impact: Little Petra is a place of historical and natural significance. Help preserve its integrity by avoiding littering, removing any trash you bring, and leaving the site as you found it.
By following these tips, you can make the most of your visit to Little Petra and create lasting memories of this remarkable place. So, get ready to embark on a journey through history, culture, and natural wonders that will leave you captivated and inspired.
Little Petra is a hidden gem that offers a unique and captivating experience for travelers seeking to delve into the ancient history and natural beauty of Jordan. From the intricate carvings and facades to the stunning rock formations, every corner of Little Petra unveils a story waiting to be discovered.
By following the tips provided in this article, you can ensure a memorable visit to Little Petra. Plan your trip in advance, dress appropriately, and stay hydrated. Respect the rules, engage with the local community, and be mindful of the environment.
Exploring Little Petra allows you to immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of the Nabateans while marveling at the architectural wonders that have stood the test of time. Whether you’re hiking through the Siq Al-Barid Trail, admiring the Treasury and the Royal Tombs, or reaching the heights of the Monastery, each step reveals the ancient secrets of this mystical city.
Beyond the historical sites, Little Petra also offers opportunities for outdoor adventures, such as hiking, climbing, and exploring the natural landscapes. Enveloped by rugged cliffs and breathtaking vistas, these activities allow you to connect with the stunning beauty of the region.
Don’t forget to savor the local culture and cuisine. Engage with the friendly Bedouin community, taste traditional dishes, and bring home unique souvenirs that reflect the skill and craftsmanship of the local artisans.
Little Petra is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural wonders. So, embark on this unforgettable journey, open your mind to the stories of the past, and let Little Petra captivate you with its unique charm and timeless beauty.
As you bid farewell to this remarkable site, take with you the memories of ancient civilizations, the warmth of Bedouin hospitality, and the awe-inspiring landscapes that will linger in your heart long after your visit has ended.