Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Little Petra and Nabatean Paintings from 1st Century

A short distance from Petra is Little Petra – when caravans made their way across the desert towards Petra, they were not allowed into Petra itself but had to camp a few kilometres away at Little Petra.

Entrance Siq

A caravan could consist of up to 1000 camels and therefore remained outside. The leaders of the caravan went into Little Petra through a Siq (the gap in the wall in the centre of the above photograph). Once inside, they would come across the house of the leader of Little Petra,

House of Caravan Leader

other general houses (the remains of the wooden door post holes are visible inside)


a water cistern

Water Cistern   

the kitchen (note the original blackened ceilings)


and a fine view over the rather rough countryside behind Little Petra.

Rocks behind

For me, the most exciting item was the Dining Hall (reached by climbing some rather worn stairs) – this was because the

Stairs to Dining Hall

painting covering the ceiling was the only surviving example of Nabatean painting dated at the 1st Century AD. The paintings consist of grape vines, flowers, various birds and cherubic figures. Although protected from treasure hunters by an iron grill, they are open to the atmosphere and therefore slowly decaying.

Painted Biclinium 1

Do click on one of the pictures and admire the intricate design.

Painted Biclinium 2

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