Saturday, January 07, 2006

Little Petra: Thursday 29th December 2005

The town we were staying in was Wadi Mousa or literally “Valley of Moses” as he is supposed to have travelled through this area. It was a relaxed start this morning for the bus trip to Little Petra,Little Petra in some ways the similar to Petra but also quite different. It was one of the four trading outposts that surround Petra and where tolls were collected from the camel caravans traversing the desert.

One of the “restaurants” had fabulous roof paintings that had, tragically, been damaged by guides throwing pebbles at it to point out salient features (i.e. the best bits!) and then the whole thing had been covered in soot when soldiers camped there during a recent war. In spite of its mistreatment you could still make out various features that had been delicately painted into wet plaster. Our more enlightened guide used a laser pointer and torch to show us the features. The vibrant colours of Petra

The Neolithic settlement of Baydha, occupied about 6500BC, is a short walk from the Little Petra bus park so that was the next stop before heading back to Wadi Mousa were we had a free afternoon.

Petra across the valleyWe headed back down through the Siq into Petra and about half way through the tombs climbed up a trail to the High Place of Sacrifice, with magnificent views over the Petra valley. A different trail took us down to see some out-of-the-way tombs on the far side of the ridge before heading back to the main tourist area of Petra to visit the Byzantine church and the fabulous mosaics that were discovered in 1990. Mosaic

The evening entertainment was “Petra by Night”; two or three thousand candles in brown paper bags lit the path down through the Siq to the Treasury where there was a Bedouin playing the single-stringed rebaba, another playing pipes and a third “telling stories”, all a bit lame really. However, it was accompanied by refreshing mint tea.

Roped into the entertainmentWe then carried on, walking by candlelight, down to the restaurant at the end of the main Petra tourist area where there was dinner and some decent Bedouin entertainment.

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