• Russell Roy

Little Petra, the Prelude to "Big" Petra

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

Petra itself is amazing. Little Petra is also little known and completely amazing unto its own rights, with the caveat being that you must visit Little Petra first. The two Petra’s are technically attached but a steep climb through a mountain pass divides them.

Petra is most recognized by the 40 metre tall carved treasury building. It is the jewel of Petra and probably the most photographed monument. The movie Raiders of the Lost Arc introduced it to the world making it is a very popular tourist attraction for good reason.

Little Petra on the other hand is several kilometres away. It was established in 100 BC by the same Nabatean people that built Petra and abandoned by 700 AD, however, there is still lots left of the site to explore. The site is not terribly popular and we literally had it to ourselves. We took every opportunity to climb the steps carved out of the native rock and enter the rooms carved into that same rock.

The first sight you encounter is this carved building. This building was likely used as a temple or tomb just like many of the hundreds of similarly carved buildings in Petra.

Just like Petra, Little Petra is accessed through an appropriately scaled down siq.

The really interesting carved rock and exploring take place on the other side of the narrow siq passage. Look carefully and you will find me or Tracy in the photos for scale.

There are rock carved buildings along both sides of the canyon for about 450 metres. At the end there is a staircase with a sign posted that said "Stairway to the most beautiful view in the World". Of course we had to climb it.

Awaiting us at the top was a Bedouin man camped out offering a cold can of pop or mint tea. The view was, indeed, outstanding. Keep going over the mountains and through the valley to reach Petra.