Excursion to Little Petra and hike in Petra to the Sacrifice Place
7-8 April 2012
Two simple excursions that can be easily done if you have a free day in Petra. Originally Nabataean, Little Petra was an ancient service station for caravans where you can still see many buildings carved into the rock, including kitchens and canteen. The sacrificial altar (Petra High Place of Sacrifice) is an important religious structure built on top of a mountain and within walking distance through a winding path starting from the center of Petra.
Trip to Little Petra. An excursion to Little Petra is interesting because this place is the second most important archaeological site of Wadi Musa. Little Petra is easily accessible with about 15 minutes drive from Petra and can be visited in less than an hour (unless you decide to take the path that leads to the Nabatean monastery in Petra, then continuing to Petra itself).
Pictures of Little Petra. This site, also called Al Beidha, has Nabatean Temples and other buildings carved into the rock. The most important function of this center was to accommodate the travelers along the route between Syria, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. It can be basically considered like a modern service station along a motorway.
Little Petra is developed mostly in a very picturesque narrow canyon.
Photos of Little Petra. The complex of buildings carved into the rock, which also contains the kitchen and the canteen used to accommodate the travelers.
The stairs, obtained by carving a block of rock, leading to several rooms on the side of the mountain.
The tour to Little Petra continues crossing a very narrow canyon becoming a mere crack between high rock walls.
The trip in Little Petra ends to the mouth of the canyon where, for those who have time and energy in abundance, a trail going to Petra via the Nabataean monastery starts. At present it is advisable to walk the path with a guide, since the trail is not well marked. For lack of time, I am unfortunately forced to return to Petra by car.
Among the many trails available in and around Petra, I decide to go through the 800 steps leading to the High Place of Sacrifice on the top of a mountain.
After climbing some of the steps, a beautiful view over the many tombs in the valley of Petra soon opens. The travel time of this path is about one hour (one way) and donkeys are available for who is not interested in walking all the way up.
The winding trail going up to the High Place of Sacrifice.
After a long climb, I reach the Two Obelisks, structures carved into the rock that probably served as an entrance to the site.
It's then only a ahort hike to the High Place of Sacrifice. This building with was probably used also for other important religious ceremonies and funerals. The sacrificial altar was built on the top of the mountain, to be as close as possible to the sky and thus to the Gods.
From the top of the mountain you can enjoy a splendid view of the mountains surrounding Petra.
Panoramic photo showing the whole valley of Petra. After a little rest and a snack, I go back to Petra along the same path.
Where to stay in Petra. Taybet Zaman hotel is located about 10 minutes drive from the entrance to the archaeological site of Petra and is built in ancient Nabataean style. The rooms are independent units housed in stone huts.
The Taybet Zaman Hotel in Petra is formally a 4* structure with comfortable and cozy rooms, in perfect theme with the archaeological wonders of this part of Jordan.
From Taybet Zaman hotel there is a splendid view over Petra valley and the mountains that keep, well hidden, the ruins of Petra.