Everybody has heard of Petra: the Rose City, capital of the Nabatean Kingdom, located in the southern part of Jordan. It is probably the most fabulous place to visit in the small Kingdom of Jordan. Well, not far from Petra, is another little trade post, also from the Nabatean period. It is called al-Beidha in Arabic, ‘the white one’.
The only ouch with visiting Petra is the quite steep entrance fee of USD50 for one day. Yes, if you have the money it is absolutely and totally worth it and you can easily spend several days there (there are passes for multiple days, much better deals) – there is jusr so much to look at. However if you don’t have the cash or are travelling with smaller children, older persons who might not beeing able to walk several km/climb a donkey/take a horse carriage going super fast on rocks – well then Little Petra is for you. Also you can go if you are like me, and just need to see what it is about!
Winding roads, on bedouin territory will take you to this lovely little lost jewel, in the middle of the mountains and desert.
The site is a small siq (natural cleft in the rock) – with a complex of cisterns, dams and dining halls located in 3 small natural courtyards. The entrance is not so long (compared to Petra where you need to walk over a 1 km to reach the Treasury) – also I remember we only met one Jordanian family while we were there. You are completely free to walk around and explore the small site.
The site was a halting station and also one of the main commercial areas of Petra, passage point for the caravans on the trade route to the north and north-west. The traders would stop here and settle so they could engage in trade.
When we went we stayed at Feynan Eco Lodge – an eco friendly lodge in the middle of the deserts. It was quite an experience! But we went in January, if I remember well and it was quite cold. One can go on the roof and see the stars at night, quite a show with no light disturbance for kilometers around you.
The solar powered 26 room eco lodge located in the Wadi is hailed by National Geographic to be one of the best of so lodges. It also gives amazing sunset show!
Other info and sources:
We visited in winter 2011 – that’s when the pictures are from. It is the middle east but Jordan gets cold in the winter months (Amman even sees snow now and again) and in the desert it also gets cold!
Websites mentioned in the post and other.
Petra Book – by Jane Taylor
Feynan Eco Lodge