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Field Guide to Jordan
Um al BiaraA. Maani

Um al Biara:


Named "the mother of cisterns" for the 12 cisterns on top of it carved in the rocks with channels to lead rain water into them, this mountain is high, accessed by stairs that start at the south east side, a tiring but beautiful and very well rewarded climb, the flat area on the top allows you to oversee the center of petra as well as the desert of Wadi Araba, this place beeing very well protected, was used as the first sattelment of the Nabataeans inside Petra, and has the ruins of an older Edomite sattelment that date to the 7th century b.c., there are some drawings on the rocks in the western part of the mountain.

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Entrance to Wadi al SiyyaghA. Maani

Water coming from Wadi Musa go under a bridge close to the musieum and enter a valley that runs down to the west, walking in this valley leads you to the spring of Wadi al Siyyagh, water comes out of the ground, collected their from rain water, and runs down more creating a beautifull green heaven for birds, the water is also used by the Bedouins to irrigate small plantations of tomatoes, cucumber, water milon and grapes. If you walk deep into the valley, you can see a small sculpture of the goddess Atara'ata, the firtility goddess, represented by a square with two eyes and a nose and a line indicating a plant on the forehead, that is located when the track goes away from the water and to the right, under huge carvings that look like a playground for the wind! The track goes arround the mountains of al Deir (the monastry), and leads you up to the Deir from the west side, this hike is not easy and is not totaly safe, if you decide to do it please use a guide.

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Wadi al Siyyagh:


It is the valley going west from the center of Petra, and is the passage for rain water coming from Wadi Musa through Wadi al Muthlim to the center of Petra then to all the way to Wado Araba. The spring of Wadi al Siyyagh is ten minutes walk from the museum, fresh water starts to give you a different feeling of the desert, fills the valley with trees and birds, the walk down this valley is cool and refreshing even in the hot summer, in the winter it not recommended to try this hike, floods might fill it any time...

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