Obelisk Tomb in Petra, Jordan.

© Vova Shevchuk/Shutterstock

Obelisk Tomb & Bab As Siq Triclinium

The Ancient City

Between the Petra Visitor Centre and the entrance to the Siq (south side of the path), there is a fine tomb with four pyramidal obelisks, built as funerary symbols by the Nabataeans in the 1st century BC. The four obelisks, together with the eroded human figure in the centre, probably represent the five people buried in the tomb.

The obelisk tomb at first appears to be multistorey. In fact, it was built on top of a much earlier structure, with a Doric columned facade. This building is known as a triclinium (dining room), and is one of several in Petra. This is where annual feasts were held to commemorate the dead, although it’s hard to imagine the conviviality of a banquet in the silent hollow that remains.

If you miss it on the way down to the Ancient City (easily done if you're riding a horse to the Siq), look out for it on the way back: the monument comes into its own at sunset when the obelisks are thrown into relief.

Near the Obelisk Tomb, further down the track towards the Siq, a signposted detour to the right leads to several stepped tombs carved into the tops of domed hills. It’s a secret little place, missed by almost everyone in their rush to get to the Siq.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Ancient City attractions

1. Djinn Blocks

0.11 MILES

About halfway between Petra Visitor Centre and the entrance to the Siq, look out for three enormous, squat monuments, known as Djinn Blocks or God Blocks…

2. Eagle Monument

0.19 MILES

Carved into a niche in a cliff near the entrance to the Siq is a beautiful eagle with outstretched wings. This bird is often depicted in ancient times as…

3. Petra


The spectacular sandstone city of Petra was built in the 3rd century BC by the Nabataeans, who carved palaces, temples, tombs, storerooms and stables from…

4. Petra Exhibition

0.36 MILES

Awaiting the completion of a new home (currently being built across from the Petra Visitor Centre), this excellent exhibition makes the most of more than…

5. Siq

0.46 MILES

The 1.2km Siq, or canyon, with its narrow, vertical walls, is undeniably one of the highlights of Petra. The walk through this magical corridor, as it…

6. Treasury

0.72 MILES

Known locally as Al Khazneh, this tomb is where most visitors fall in love with Petra. The Hellenistic facade is an astonishing piece of craftsmanship…

7. Sacred Hall

0.73 MILES

The Sacred Hall may have had ritual connections with the Treasury, diagonally opposite.

8. Cistern

0.85 MILES

Hilltop Nabataean cistern with wonderful views of the Theatre.