Siq, Petra

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  • Siq
    by machomikemd
  • Siq
    by machomikemd
  • Siq
    by machomikemd
  • leics's Profile Photo

    6. Into the Siq

    by leics Written Feb 17, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Siq ('gorge') would be massively impressive even if it were nothing more than a rock formation. It was created when the mountain split into two and gradually, over millennia, the waters of the Wadi Musa carved and smoothed its sides.

    There was once a huge Nabatean arch over the Bab as-Siq, the entrance from the visitor centre, though it fell in 1896. The almost-a mile-long ravine winds its way through the heart of the mountain, narrow in parts and widening in others, before finally giving the first glimpse of the 'treasury'.

    Don't expect the Siq to be silent, empty and evocative. It isn't. It cannot be, unless you are lucky enough to happen on the site when there are no other visitors at all (and that is highly unlikely). You will encounter others and, even if you do not, you will hear from afar the hooves of the horses pulling carriages as they trot (sometimes canter) up and down, carrying tired or lazy visitors. And you'll have to make sure that you move well to the side when you hear them, for the Siq is often narrow and the horses do not stop.

    Narrow valleys sometimes run from the Siq into the sides of the rock. Now (and in the past as well) they are blocked with dams: the Siq can flood, could always flood and still does flood on occasion.

    All the way down the Siq you'll see the water channels on the left carved by the Nabateans to bring water to their city from the Wadi Musa. They are fantastic pieces of engineering, complete with the occasional deeper section which allowed debris to fall and be caught whilst clear water continued its flow. On the righthand wall you can see the remains of waterpipes, probably from the same period.

    Look out for the chisel marks too. They are real marks made by real men working 2000+years ago. Run your fingers across them and you are touching the past of ordinary people.

    And you'll also see evidence of many, many niches which once held statues of gods and goddesses. As I've said elsewhere, the Nabateans were real 'magpies', collecting and absorbing artistic, cultural and religious elements from the many other cultures with which they were in contact through trade. And what better way to welcome businessmen from afar into your city than to have statues of *their* gods and goddesses within the Siq? :-)

    About halfway down the Siq there's a shrine with a couple of god-blocks and, a bit further on, a very large carving which was once a camel led by a man. The carving is well-worn and, according to my guide, one set of legs was destroyed in the fairly recent past by an over-enthusiastic digger-driver. How true that is I do not know.

    Take your time walking down the Siq. There is a lot to see, both natural and man-made, and being aware of what once was will heighten your understanding of how magnificent and awe-inspiring the city once was.

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    The Gorge

    by xaver Written Jan 8, 2014

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    This is the ancent main entrance to Petra.
    An impressive 1200 meters long gorge of stunning beauty. Along the siq there are peakes up to 80 meters high.
    Walking through the Siq you get to see bizarre looking geological formations, colorful rocks, terraces, water channels cut into cliffs.
    It's a long walk but I would reccomend to not take horses or donkey at least on the first round as it is descent and the walk is an amazing experience.

    siq siq Siq
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    Main Entrance to Petra 2

    by machomikemd Written Aug 28, 2013

    Part two of my 2 tip with more pictures around the Siq.

    The Siq is located after a 600 meter walk along the Bab Al Siq or the Gate to the Siq in Arabic and at the end, at the start of the Narrow Canyons and in front of the Nabatean Dam reconstructed along the Canyons, lie the entrance to the Siq itself. The Siq criss crosses around the narrow canyons of Petra and ends spectacularly in front of the Treasury Building (Al Khazneh). At the beginning of the Siq, one can still view the remains of the city’s gate. On both sides of the Siq, there are channels to draw water from Wadi Musa (the Valley of Moses), from outside the city to the inside. The Siq is about 1.2 kilometers long (3/4 th mile) and measures 160 meters in length, 3 to 12 meters in width and reaches up to 80 meters in height. The main part of the Siq is created by natural rock formation and the rest is carved by the Nabataeans.

    according to wikipedia:

    Unlike slot canyons like Antelope Canyon, which are directly shaped by water, the Siq is is a natural geological fault split apart by tectonic forces; only later was it worn smooth by water. The walls that enclose the Siq stand between 91–182 m (300–600 feet) in height.[2]

    The entrance to the Siq contains a huge dam, reconstructed in 1963 and again in 1991, designed to bar the mouth of the Siq and reroute the waters of Wadi Musa. The dam is a fairly true reconstruction of what the Nabataeans did to control Wadi Musa between the 1st century BC and the beginning of the 1st century AD. The entrance also contains the remnants of a monumental arch, of which only the two abutments and some hewn stones of the arch itself have survived. The arch collapsed in 1896 following an earthquake, but its appearance is known from the lithographs of David Roberts.[2]

    The Siq was used as the grand caravan entrance into Petra. Along both walls of the fissure are a number of votive niches containing baetyli, which suggest that the Siq was sacred to the Nabatean people. In 1998, a group of statues were uncovered when digging was conducted to lower the road by more than six feet. Although the upper part is greatly eroded, it is still possible to recognise the figures of two merchants, each leading two camels. The figures are almost twice lifesize.[2]

    Along the Siq are some underground chambers, the function of which has not yet been clarified. The possibility that they were tombs has been excluded, as archaeologists find it difficult to believe that they were dwellings. The majority consensus is that they housed the guards that defended the main entrance to Petra.[2]

    me at the final walk to al khazneh the end of the siq with the al khazneh at back
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    The Main Entrance to Petra 1

    by machomikemd Written Aug 28, 2013

    This will be a two part tip with more pictures around the Siq.

    The Siq is located after a 600 meter walk along the Bab Al Siq or the Gate to the Siq in Arabic and at the end, at the start of the Narrow Canyons and in front of the Nabatean Dam reconstructed along the Canyons, lie the entrance to the Siq itself. The Siq criss crosses around the narrow canyons of Petra and ends spectacularly in front of the Treasury Building (Al Khazneh). At the beginning of the Siq, one can still view the remains of the city’s gate. On both sides of the Siq, there are channels to draw water from Wadi Musa (the Valley of Moses), from outside the city to the inside. The Siq is about 1.2 kilometers long (3/4 th mile) and measures 160 meters in length, 3 to 12 meters in width and reaches up to 80 meters in height. The main part of the Siq is created by natural rock formation and the rest is carved by the Nabataeans.

    according to wikipedia:

    Unlike slot canyons like Antelope Canyon, which are directly shaped by water, the Siq is is a natural geological fault split apart by tectonic forces; only later was it worn smooth by water. The walls that enclose the Siq stand between 91–182 m (300–600 feet) in height.[2]

    The entrance to the Siq contains a huge dam, reconstructed in 1963 and again in 1991, designed to bar the mouth of the Siq and reroute the waters of Wadi Musa. The dam is a fairly true reconstruction of what the Nabataeans did to control Wadi Musa between the 1st century BC and the beginning of the 1st century AD. The entrance also contains the remnants of a monumental arch, of which only the two abutments and some hewn stones of the arch itself have survived. The arch collapsed in 1896 following an earthquake, but its appearance is known from the lithographs of David Roberts.[2]

    The Siq was used as the grand caravan entrance into Petra. Along both walls of the fissure are a number of votive niches containing baetyli, which suggest that the Siq was sacred to the Nabatean people. In 1998, a group of statues were uncovered when digging was conducted to lower the road by more than six feet. Although the upper part is greatly eroded, it is still possible to recognise the figures of two merchants, each leading two camels. The figures are almost twice lifesize.[2]

    Along the Siq are some underground chambers, the function of which has not yet been clarified. The possibility that they were tombs has been excluded, as archaeologists find it difficult to believe that they were dwellings. The majority consensus is that they housed the guards that defended the main entrance to Petra.[2]

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    Nabatean Gods

    by machomikemd Written Aug 28, 2013

    Along the long and winding siq are assorted carvings of the Nabatean Gods. these carvings are located at several places and your friendly tour guide will gladly tell you the history and the names of these Nabatean Pre Islamic Gods. While the Nabataeans did not accord their gods with physical representations and include them in their art forms, they did enjoy art in a number of other forms: tomb facades, painted pottery, oil lamps, coins, and jewelry.

    In early Nabataean history, the Nabataeans had gods with Arabic names. Some of these were the following: Al Qaum - the warrior god who guards the caravans; Al Kutbay - the god of learning, commerce, writing, and divination; Allat - the goddess of spring and fertility; Al Uzza - the powerful; Manawat - the god of destiny or fate; Dushara- lord of the mountains.

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    The Siq

    by Maria81 Written Apr 25, 2011

    What?

    Almost a mile long, the Siq is the main tourist route into Petra. The winding tunnel is actually not a tunnel at all, but a fissure in the rock, widened by tectonic plate movement. Widening and narrowing, sometimes it's only about 5 feet wide

    Visiting

    Most of the tourists walk this route to the Treasury, although horses and donkeys are available for hire. It's an easy walk, which is only made challenging in the extreme heat, and even then, the walls of the Siq do provide plenty of shade.

    The winding path through the Siq helps build anticipation for one's first view of the Treasury (or Al-Khaznekh), for when it will finally appear through the crack in the Siq. Once it does, this is the iconic photograph of Petra everyone will be trying to take – difficult given the crowds, but doable, if you show enough patience.

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    Siq

    by Gili_S Updated Jan 2, 2011

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    Siq is the name of the last leg before approaching the famous Al Khazneh. It is in the lower part of the canyon and very narrow part of it, you will slowly proceed and then suddenly you will notice ahead of you the famous beautiful site.

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    Walking down through the narrow valleys of rock

    by angiebabe Updated Oct 26, 2010

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    Walking down through the valley or rock with exciting anticipation of arriving at The Treasury - Petra!
    Its about half an hour or so of gentle slope from the entrance through the Siq walkway down to the Treasury - with all sorts of interesting rock formations, carvings into the rocks, cut outs that look like they were places to keep lanterns to light the way at night - and even statues in the rocks

    Have your camera ready for this part of course

    - remember then that its another half an hour or so of uphill to get back out again!...in addition to the potential hours walking around the Petra site

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  • TravellerMel's Profile Photo

    Walk Through the Siq

    by TravellerMel Updated Oct 12, 2010

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    The Siq is the main entrance to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. The dim, narrow gorge (in some points no more than 3 meters wide) winds its way approximately one mile and ends at Petra's most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh (The Treasury).

    The Siq is a natural geological fault produced by tectonic forces and worn smooth by water erosion. The walls that enclose the Siq stand between 300-600 feet in height.

    Local people will offer horse-drawn carriage rides and camel rides for the one-mile trek thru the Siq. If you have difficulty walking, this might be the best option for you, but if possible, I recommend you walk it. There is much to see along the way (especially if you have a good guide) including sculptures, aquaducts, tombs, etc. But walking it makes so much sweeter that first glimpse of the Treasury through the last of the narrow gorge.

    Entrance to the Siq View of the Treasury thru the Siq
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    Al-Siq Canyon details

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Oct 2, 2010

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    The Siq is a meandering path between beautifully-colored sandstone cliffs about 150m high on each side. Occasionally the path widens enough to allow in warm sunlight and even a tree; other times it becomes so narrow (as little as 2 meters apart) that the stone seems to block out virtually all heat, light, and sound.
    There are many things to see along the Siq. Take special note of how the water has eroded away the sandstone.
    Along the way are some small niches, shrines and carvings to investigate, and running alongside the length of the Siq are water channels carved by the Nabateans to provide water to the city of Petra.
    Check out some of the incredible colors in the red-rose rock mountains of Petra.

    You can watch my 3 min 32 sec HD Video Jordan Petra part 3 Siq out of my Youtube channel.

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    The Siq - 3. The fossilized dolphin!

    by K.Knight Written Nov 13, 2009

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    As I mentioned above, all the way through the impressive Siq you are met with bizarre formations and breathtaking colors in the rocks. Approx half way through the Siq, before you get to the carvings of the camel caravans, you will see a fossil of a dolphin.

    Located on the left hand side as walk down, the dolphin is pointing up toward the sky and you can still see the backbone and parts of the skeleton. Many scientists say that this is proof that the entire area was once beneath the ocean before it was lifted up over millions of years.

    The fossilized dolphin
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    The Siq - 2.

    by K.Knight Written Nov 13, 2009

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    All the way through the impressive Siq you are met with bizarre formations and breathtaking colors in the rock formations.

    You will pass three or four dams as well as several water harvesting system that were built by the Nabataean’s. There is also several water channels that were made from terracotta took the water from its origins approx 13 kilometers away to the town itself, approx 2 km’s below the bottom of the Siq.

    breathtaking colors in the rock formations bizarre formations
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    Petra 4 - The Siq.

    by K.Knight Written Nov 13, 2009

    At the end of the 1600 meter to the entrance to the Siq you will need a short break to cool down! This is where the cold bottle of water comes in handy that you purchased at the entry gate. Unless you arrive here at mid day you will have shade from the 80m high cliff walls that form this narrow ancient entrance to the city.

    I sat here and watched as the horse and carriage drivers approached the people that were getting off the horses. Arguments were breaking out because the “tourists” felt that the horse ride would take them to the end of the Siq….not the start of it! Now the carriage drivers want US$30 for the horse drawn carriage ride through the Siq. (Another tourist rip off!)

    The shade of the Siq. The Siq narrows Looking for shade.
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    As-Siq

    by PierreZA Written May 24, 2009

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    Walking down The Siq is a fantastic experience.

    This natural gorge is 1,2km long and extremely impressive. Some tourists make the trip down with a horse-and-cart, but I think you miss the whole point by speeding down The Siq. Most of the way is covered in shade, there is not much of an incline, so it is an easy walk.

    The rock, textures and colours change constantly.

    Siq A place to rest in The Siq
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  • jlanza29's Profile Photo

    Just like in Indiana Jones !!!!

    by jlanza29 Updated Feb 26, 2009

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    This is one of the spectacular walks one could ever take anywhere in the world. Leading to the world famous treasury building.... the walk takes about 30 minutes...I say the walk is about a mile and a half from the entrance of the Petra..... Horse drawn cartidges are for hire to take you thru the Siq.....they charge about 3 to 4 JOD per person..... But the walk is great...bring good walking shoes !!!!!

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