About 10km away from Petra there’s a short canyon that’s home to Al-Beida. Beida means white in Arabic, and the area takes its name from the white rock that makes up the canyon walls.
Known as Little Petra this was the home of the Nabateans in the 1st century AD for about 500 years, before they constructed their far larger city at Petra.
There’s evidence here of that it was a busy trading post , with relics found that had been traded from round the entire region such as turquoise from Sinai and shells from the Mediterranean.
Passing by the inevitable souvenir stall there’s a small passage that opens into the wider canyon. Here eight building levels have been excavated and can be entered. Inside frescos of flowers are still faintly visible.
There’s not a great deal to see really, but it’s a worthwhile if brief stop on the drive to Petra.
Whilst we were there it was a popular spot for Jordanian families to come for a picnic, which made it feel a little more alive than many of the Jordanian historical sites.
Little Petra Tips
There’s no entrance or car parking fee and it takes less than an hour to walk to the end and back. It closes around 5pm.
Most importantly, go before visiting the larger site at Petra or you’ll be left a little underwhelmed.