The Siq ( see also tour petra one day from eilat no 311 ) which means ‘the shaft’ in Arabic is a small and narrow gorge and serves as the entrance to the city of Petra. The narrow shaft like structure is only about 3 meters in width but stretches for more than 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) before leading up to the ancient Treasury at Petra. Petra was an ancient city established around 6th century BC by the Nabateans, it served as the capital to their empire and was strategically well placed. It is situated in the south western region of Jordan and is classified as one of the wonders of the new world. This archaeological marvel was hidden form the western world up until very recently that is 1812.
The Siq ( see also tour petra from tel aviv including flights) was formed as a geological fault in the area due to tectonic activities and is bordered by walls up to 200 meters in height. The narrow gorge used to be a natural waterway and has made the walls of the Siq smooth. The Nabateans arrived and controlled the water with the help of dam and cisterns which enabled them to tap into the river for their water supply. This helped the city to control Wadi Musa.
The shaft was used as a passage way for the caravans entering the city and even today the cobbled streets seem bear the mark of the countless wagons which have passed over the stones.
The walls of the Siq bears marks containing ‘baetyli’, this goes to show what this Siq was considered holy by the people of the city. The walls of the shaft also have figures carved in it at various places, such as the image of a merchant with his camels. Even today the narrow passageway has the ruins of a small waterway or a pipeline running along the walls. This pipeline is worn away at many places but can still be examined to show that the design is far superior even to those of a few centuries earlier. At many places of the tunnel like structure we can see arches which have now broken and there are beautiful natural formations on the wall because of the salt and water eating into the stone. There have been found along the walls a series of chambers whose purpose were never clearly understood and are said to have been guardhouses at that time.
Petra is a beautiful place and realizing this, UNESCO conferred to it the status of a world heritage site in 1985 but is threatened today by a variety of problems that have come up like poor maintenance and restoration projects, the site in the past also suffered from a earthquake which spoiled its various features.