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Just 6 km north the Nabataean capital's centre, the Siq al-Barid ("cold canyon"), also known as Little Petra, and the area around Al-Beidha were an important base for the long-distance trade, and an ideal rest place for caravans. On the once fertile plains the pack and saddle animals could graze extensively. Thanks to numerous cisterns, there was sufficient water so that agriculture could flourish, including wine growing and making, as evidenced by a large number of well-preserved wine presses.
The rock-cut buildings in the 350 metres long Siq al-Barid originated most likely in the heyday of the Nabataean Empire during the 1st century AD, and seem to have served mainly cultic purposes. A funnel-shaped entrance area, where there is a grave with classical facade, leads to a gate and narrow passage through which one enters the deep and therefore "cool" gorge.
At first, a kind of plaza opens up, where a beautiful temple rises above a cave dwelling. After a passageway with four triclinia follows the second slightly wider court, where the famous biclinium with remains of Nabataean wall paintings is located. The Siq al-Barid ends in a steep staircase with heavily worn steps, which can be used as exit if you want to continue the way. More about this on the photo pages.
By car approx. 9 km north of Petra Visitor Centre. Open during the day.
The informative photo tours introduce the highlights of ancient Petra, show hidden details and recommend lesser known routes.
Overview map of all chapters
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Compilation of information, editing, translations, photos: Universes in Universe, unless otherwise indicated
Chronological account of facts and figures on the history of Petra and the Nabataeans.