Royal Tombs

Royal Tombs

Sculpted out of the western slope of the Jabal al-Hubta rock massif, majestically overlooking the center of Petra, are the so-called "Royal Tombs," a series of large mausoleums with impressive façades.

The tomb of an eminent king, probably Aretas IV, who reigned during the first four decades AD, a period considered the zenith of the Nabataean Kingdom, occupies center stage. On the very top there is an urn after which the tomb is named. The three burial niches high up on the façade, and the large forecourt – originally with colonnades on both sides, of which only the northern one is preserved – are unique. In the Byzantine period, when the tomb was converted into a church, a substructure of arched vaults was added, as well as a central apse and two smaller ones inside.

On the façade of the Corinthian Tomb, despite the fact that its decorative elements are strongly eroded, the floral decoration on the Nabataean "horn capitals" (mistakenly considered of "Corinthian" order in earlier times) can still be admired.

From the row of monuments, you won't be able to miss the largest Palace Tomb, but the less royal Silk Tomb with its patterns of colors like a wavy moiré on its rock façade will surely strike you more.


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