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.
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,
other general houses (the remains of the wooden door post holes are visible inside)
a water cistern
the kitchen (note the original blackened ceilings)
and a fine view over the rather rough countryside behind Little Petra.
For me, the most exciting item was the Dining Hall (reached by climbing some rather worn stairs) – this was because the
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.
Do click on one of the pictures and admire the intricate design.