Siq al-Barid (Cold Canyon) is colloquially known as Little Petra and is well worth a visit. It was thought to have served as an agricultural center, trading suburb and resupply post for camel caravans visiting Petra via the King’s Highway. From the car park, an obvious path leads to the 400 meter long Siq (or narrow canyon), which opens out into larger areas. The first open area, near the car park, has a temple pictured above, which archaeologists know little about. A few things are notable, the columns and their caps are neither, Egyptian, Greek or Roman. This seems to be the original architectural style of the Nabetians. I find the style to be very pleasing without unnecessary ornamentation. Little Petra is an archaeological site located a few kilometers north of Petra and the town of Wadi Musa in the Ma’an Governorate of Jordan. Like Petra, it is a Nabataean site, with buildings carved into the walls of the sandstone canyons. As its name suggests, it is much smaller, consisting of three wider open areas connected by a 450-meter (1,480 ft) canyon.
I have been traveling in the Middle East for some time now and because of poor internet connections, I have been posting mostly on social media. Now that I am in Jordan, the Internet is more reliable and I will be making short posts to which I will add future posts. Established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, Petra is a symbol of Jordan, as well as Jordan's most-visited tourist attraction. It lies on the slope of Jebel al-Madhbah (identified by some as the biblical Mount Hor) in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Perhaps the most famous image of Petra is seen above, Al Khazneh (“The Treasury” or in Arabic: الخزنة) which appears rather magically as you walk down the narrow canyon or wadi to the main part of Petra.
A new exhibit “Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” is the first-ever comprehensive international exhibition of Saudi Arabia’s historical artifacts at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution showing Nov 17, 2012 – Feb 24, 2013. It will also travel to The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in December 2013, Chicago and The Asian Arts Museum in 2014. Delicately crafted in repoussé to show a tight mouth, long nose and slitted eyes, the “Thaj mask” is reminiscent of the so-called Mask of Agamemnon, discovered in 1876 at the second millennium BC site of Mycenae. The Thaj mask and its companion objects are just a few of the remarkable displays in the exhibition “Roads of Arabia,” which showed at the Louvre in Paris from July to September of last year where we saw it.