Little Petra (Siq al-Barid) was a northern satellite of the main city, and it resembles Petra proper in enough ways to earn its nickname. Like at Petra, visitors approach Siq al-Barid through a canyon-like passage similar to the Siq at Petra. Unlike Petra, many of the structures carved into the cliff walls served as houses, as well as temples and communal gathering areas.
Archeologists believe Siq al-Barid (Cold Canyon in English) once served as a trading post and agricultural hub where camel caravans could resupply on the way to and from Petra. Wander through the narrow passage with rock-cut stairs climbing up on either side, and it’s easy to imagine Little Petra as a busy community humming with activity.
One of Little Petra’s most famous sites, the Painted House, houses one of the only surviving Nabatean painted interiors. The frescoes depict scenes related to wine consumption and Dionysus worship.
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