Just a 15 minutes ride from Petra, passing through Umm Sayhoun village, Little Petra is located. Like its name suggests, it show the same rock-cut architecture like Petra, but too a much smaller scale. In Arabic the site is known as Siq Al Barid, meaning Cold Canyon. The name hints to the fact that almost no sun reaches inside the 350 meters long canyon.
Built by the Nabateans it was the rest place for caravans, trading goods from Arabia to Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. You enter the site through a narrow canyon, to see then buildings, triclinia and water channels carved out of the sandstone. A triclinium is a dining room and the fresco painting with birds and grape vines in one of the buildings suggests the celebration of feasts in Little Petra. The Nabatean irrigation system allowed agriculture in the nearby area of Al-Beidha including wine-making.
We highly recommend to visit Little Petra before Petra as an introduction, and to appreciate its own beauty before seeing its famous “big sister”. Little Petra is open during daylight hours and the entrance is free of charge. A guide is not needed, it has the advantage of being less crowded and you are free to explore.