Jordan // Petra //

Wadi Turkmaniyyeh

Joining the Wadi Musa between the Qasr al-Bint and the Basin Restaurant, Wadi Turkmaniyyeh – also often called Wadi Abu Ullaygeh – is a very pleasant walking route to follow out of Petra to the north, a small sandy valley with the 100m-high jagged cliffs on your left contorted into weird shapes. Along the bank runs the only driveable track into and out of Petra, currently forbidden to non-locals without written permission from the Wadi Musa tourist police (though plans are afoot to consolidate the road and open it to tourist traffic).

Along the way there are two groups of tombs: if you enter the Wadi Muaysreh ash-Shargiyyeh, which joins Wadi Turkmaniyyeh on the left barely five minutes from the restaurant, after about 350m you’ll come to a dense gathering of facades. Back in Wadi Turkmaniyyeh, after five minutes’ walk further northeast you’ll see, ranged up on the Muaysreh Ridges to your left, plenty more rock-cut facades, with niches, double-height courtyards and a tiny High Place dotted among them. Either of these areas would repay scrambled exploration, well away from the crowds. Both Wadi Muaysreh ash-Shargiyyeh and its neighbour Wadi Muaysreh al-Gharbiyyeh provide walks (7km; 2hr 30min) linking Petra with Little Petra, emerging from Petra’s valley onto a cultivated plateau 4km southwest of Little Petra (which is concealed behind a small hill).

The Turkmaniyyeh Tomb

About 1km along Wadi Turkmaniyyeh from the Basin restaurant you’ll see the facade of the Turkmaniyyeh Tomb on the left, with the entire bottom half broken away. Between the two pilasters is the longest inscription in Petra in Nabatean, a dialect of Aramaic, dedicating the tomb and the surrounding property to Dushara. All the gardens, cisterns and walls mentioned in the inscription must have been swept away by the floodwaters of the wadi, as, indeed, the facade almost has been.

From here, the road begins 1500m of tight switchbacks as it climbs the ridge to the police post on the outskirts of the modern Bdul village of Umm Sayhoun. Buses shuttle regularly from the village’s main street into Wadi Musa town, about 4km away, curling around the head of the valley.