Beyond Qasr Al Bint is the small hill of Al Habis (the Prison). From the Nabataean Tent Restaurant, steps lead up the hill past a disused museum around the back of Al Habis, with striking views of fertile Wadi Siyagh and the junction with Wadi Numeir.
The path soon skirts the tea shop and comfortable cave home of Bdoul Mofleh, one of the last residents of Petra. Asked why he didn’t leave when the rest of his family were relocated to Umm Sayoun, he replied, ‘Why would I? This is my home; I’ve always lived here.’ With a view to die for and a garden of flowering jasmine, it’s easy to see why this hardy resident chose to stay. Notice the red-capped aloe, standing to attention in early summer, billeted across the cliffs opposite.
The path continues around the hill, past the Convent Group of tombs to a flight of steps. These lead in turn (via a wooden plank bridge) to the top of Al Habis, another of Petra’s many High Places. At the summit (allow 10 to 15 minutes to reach the top) are the limited ruins of a small Crusader fort, built in AD 1116 by Baldwin I. The ruins are not impressive, but the views across the city certainly are.
From here you can either hike via the Pharaun Column, which is a good landmark, to Snake Monument in Wadi Thughra, or along Wadi Farasa to the High Place of Sacrifice.
Alternatively, complete the circuit of Al Habis by descending the hill behind Qasr Al Bint. On your way down, look out for the Unfinished Tomb. It offers a rare glimpse of the way the Nabataeans constructed their rock tombs, starting at the top on a platform of scaffolding and working their way down. Nearby is the enigmatic Columbarium, whose multiple niches remain a mystery; some suppose they housed votive images or urns, others say this was a dovecote for pigeons.