WALKING THE SIQ – PETRA




WALKING THE SIQ – PETRA

In 1985 UNESCO designated Petra, Jordan as a World Heritage Site. Each year more and more travelers make the journey to Southern Jordan to visit this world famous archeological site. The numbers skyrocketed after the site was featured in the classic film “Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.” Exploring Petra is high on the “must do” list for travelers to the Middle East, and especially for travelers who love history.

BACKGROUND – If you are thinking of visiting Petra then a bit of background information will be useful. A previous Travel And Photo Today article – PETRA – THE LOST CITY – examined Petra’s fascinating background and history. A follow up article – PLANNING A VISIT TO PETRA – shared ideas and information helpful for travelers preparing for and planning a journey to Petra. Check those out, and then read on to learn about what’s in store for visitors as they enter Petra by – Walking The Siq.


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INDIANA JONES HAT – VISIT PETRA IN STYLE !

PS – It’s also a great “crushable” travel hat for other locations

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Dawn light on the mountains and canyon lands of Petra

The Bab Al Siq & The Siq

The Bab Al Siq and the Siq are ancient roadways that have brought travelers, caravans and visitors to the city of Petra since the 4th century B.C. Modern day visitors enter Petra in the same fashion, walking along the Bab Al Siq and The Siq into the valley and the City of Petra.

Points of Interest along the 2km pathway of the Bab Al Siq and the Siq into Petra –

WATCH THE VIDEO – WALKING THE SIQ


The Siq is an ancient dirt and cobblestoned pathway, approximately 2 km in length, which winds it’s way down a gentle slope into the heart of Petra. It’s the main pathway into Petra and is divided into two rather distinct sections. The first / upper 1 km section, known as Bab Al Sīq (Gateway to the Siq), begins at what is today the Main Entrance to the Petra Archeological Site on the western end of the town of Wadi Masi. This section of the roadway is open and wide and today is divided in places into two lanes, one for walkers and the other for horses or carriages.

Visitors walking down the pathway in Bab Al Siq toward the Siq in Petra

The visual details and features of the Bab Al Siq (which in Arabic means “gateway to the Siq”) are frequently overlooked by visitors as they scamper and hurry along the pathway, heading quickly, with tunnel vision focus, to the more well-known and easily recognized memorials and features which lie further into the center of Petra. Wiser travelers take their time, realizing that Petra is a huge site and a more reasoned pace will serve them well as their explorations continue. A slower pace through the Bab Al Siq will also allow you to discover and enjoy lesser-known but rather unique features such as The Obelisk Tomb along the way.

Oblisk Tomb alongside Bab Al Siq

After walking approximately 1 km down Bab Al Siq the wide valley ends abruptly but the path continues onward, entering into a narrow opening in the mountain walls ahead. This is the entrance to the Siq, the narrow canyon path which winds it’s way between high canyon walls, eventually emerging into the ancient City of Petra.

Narrow canyon opening – the entrance to the Siq
Walking the narrow pathway through the Siq

As the path leaves the Bab Al Siq and enters the Siq proper, the terrain changes dramatically. The walk through the narrow winding Siq is one of the true highlights of the journey to Petra. The pathway narrows, at points 12 meters in width down to 3 meters at the most narrow. With the narrowing of the pathway, the canyon walls close in on visitors. At places the canyon walls rise to a height of 80 meters with outcroppings overhanging the path, dwarfing pedestrians and creating an almost claustrophobic, closed in quality to the journey at the most narrow portions of the path.

High canyon walls and narrow pathway through the Siq……..

It’s a pleasant and interesting walk along the path through the Siq. Take your time and enjoy the coolness of the shade cast by the canyon walls. ( Later, when walking in the unobstructed sun in the middle of Petra you’ll wish you had more of that shade. )

Ancient Petra flourished in this arid desert area by learning to control and conserve water. Rainwater which fell near Petra was channeled into the city through an elaborate network of waterways and aquaducts. Remnants of aqueducts can be seen running along the base of the canyon walls.

Aquaduct channels chiseled into the base of Siq walls ………

Keep a sharp eye out as you make your way through the Siq – you’ll discover many interesting features. There are many carvings, inscriptions, and statues carved into the walls and rocks throughout the Siq. Of course they are old, and unfortunately many are damaged or eroded away.

Carvings in the canyon walls of the Siq……..

Remnants of small statues carved into the Siq walls ……..

Walking along the Ba Al Siq and through the high canyoned walls of the Siq is a very special experience. The walk takes roughly 30 minutes. winding slowly downward into Petra. At the end of the Siq, travelers round a final bend and finally emerge in a large open space facing what has come to be Petra’s most famous monument – The Treasury.

A first glimpse of the Treasury as travelers emerge from the Siq …….
The Treasury greets visitors as they exit the Siq, entering Petra proper …….
My Siq / Treasury / Petra Selfie ……………………..

Walking The Siq is a fascinating stroll into the ancient past. It’s a meandering walkway into Petra, offering a glimpse of several old structures and filling visitors with anticipation of things to come.


Walk The Sig Into Petra …………. ……….. And Enjoy The Adventure!


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