Little Petra is also known as Siq al-Barid and is a few miles north of the more famous Petra. It is free entrance, unlike Petra and is usually much less crowded, though it still has a number of Bedouins selling souvenirs and local children following you around looking for money.
Built, like Petra, during the height of the Nabataean period in the first century CE/AD, many of the buildings purposes remain unknown. The prevailing theory is that this area was a suburb of Petra and used by visiting merchants as accommodation, supported by the discovery in 2010 of a dining room in one of the caves along with surviving interior art.
It is strongly recommended to see Little Petra before you see Petra, as other than the Painted House, the impressive buildings of Little Petra pale in comparison to its larger sibling. There are two larger carved sites, one at the entrance, and one further inside, along with a large number of alcoves and caves. Health and Safety regulations are lax and the climb up the limestone stairs to the Painted House is somewhat treacherous and has no railings.
The Painted House is a cave, where in 2010 it was discovered there was a nearly intact ceiling fresco, which can be viewed by the visitors as is"the only surviving in situ figurative [Nabataean] wall painting.” According to expert David Park.
Through a slot canyon at the end of Little Petra you can climb to an outcropping overlooking the spectacular desert landscapes.