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In Photos: Little Petra – Al Beida, Jordan




Little Petra entrance

The very narrow entrance

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.

First view of Little Petra

The first view of Little Petra

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.

Little Petra Temple

The largest construction in the valley

Little Petra Roof

The roof of the temple

Looking back at the temple

Looking back at the temple

There’s not a great deal to see really, but it’s a worthwhile if brief stop on the drive to Petra.

Little Petra food

Families picnicking at Little 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 Steps

Steep steps lead up to some of the higher residences

Little Petra Houses

A cluster of houses and shops midway along the valley

Little Petra Home

One of the homes lining the walls of the canyon

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.

Little Petra End

End of the main area of houses





Since leaving London in 2006 I’ve travelled, worked, volunteered and lived in over 90 countries. Highlights so far would be driving along the Silk Road from Beijing to Istanbul, a complete circuit of South America and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Costa Rica. I’m currently back in Beijing, as a base to visit more of Asia and attempt to learn Mandarin.

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