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Cracks in Petra’s Siq walls threaten site

Cracks appearing in the high Siq walls outside of Petra are threatening to collapse upon the 2,000-year-old site.

With the high season approaching for tourism in Petra, thousands of tourists will pass through the Nabataean city’s Siq each day, unaware that segments of the fragile sandstone gorge are at risk of collapsing.

The Siq, Petra’s main thoroughfare, which stretches for 1.2 kilometres leading to the iconic Treasury, has become a warning signal that the stability of the 2,000-year-old site requires urgent attention, according to experts.

The geophysical stability of the park has long been an area of concern, according to conservationists, an issue that was brought to the fore in March 2009 when a several-metre-long crack was
discovered in a rock formation in the Siq.

One month later, a 150-kilogramme rock fell from the walls of the Siq, according to the Petra National Trust (PNT) and the Petra Archaeological Park (PAP).

Although the incident, which occurred ahead of visiting hours, did not harm any visitors or park personnel, it served as a sign of the urgent need for greater attention to the geophysical status of the ancient city.

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