Al Beidha

Little Petra

The neolithic ruins of Al Beidha date back 9000 years and, along with Jericho, constitute one of the oldest archaeological sites in the Middle East. The remains of around 65 round (and later rectangular) structures are especially significant because they pinpoint the physical transition from hunter-gatherer to settled herder-agriculturalist communities. The settlement was abandoned around 6000 BCE, keeping the site intact. A 15-minute walking trail, starting to the left of the entrance to Little Petra, leads to the site.

It's important to keep to the marked trails at Al Beidha as the site is fragile. It's fair to say that for the casual visitor, the ruins require imagination, but the location among wind-eroded cliffs is an inspiring one. Broken tablets leading from Little Petra to the site helpfully mark key points in world history that put the mind-stretching antiquity of Al Beidha into context.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Little Petra attractions

1. Little Petra Siq

0.21 MILES

An obvious path leads through the 400m-long Siq Al Barid, opening out into flat, sandy areas. The first open area boasts a temple while four triclinia –…

2. Christian Tombs

2.36 MILES

Many of these caves are marked with crosses, leading to the assumption that they may have been used for Christian burial.

3. Lookout

2.38 MILES

Beyond the Monastery, this eyrie perched on a steep precipice affords breathtaking views.

4. Lookout

2.38 MILES

One of several viewpoints across Wadi Araba is worth the extra hike from the Monastery.

5. Monastery

2.47 MILES

Hidden high in the hills, the Monastery is one of the legendary monuments of Petra. Similar in design to the Treasury but far bigger (50m wide and 45m…

6. Turkmaniya Tomb

2.51 MILES

With the bottom half of the facade missing, this tomb is remarkable for the Nabataean inscription it bears – the longest yet found in Petra.

7. Mu'aisireh Tombs

2.52 MILES

Arranged above a fertile wadi with oleander fed by a natural spring, these tombs are notable for curved pediments.

8. Lion Tomb

2.61 MILES

The two weather-beaten lions that lend the tomb its name face each other at the base of the monument.