The Ancient City

At more than 6m high, these remarkable structures are carved out of the rock face, not built upon it: looking at the negative space surrounding them, it's easy to understand the truly epic scale of excavation involved. Dedicated to the Nabataean gods Dushara and Al ‘Uzza, their iron-rich stone glows in the sun and they act like totems of this once-hallowed ground.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Ancient City attractions

1. High Place of Sacrifice

0.07 MILES

The most accessible of Petra’s High Places, this well-preserved site was built atop Jebel Madbah with drains to channel the blood of sacrificial animals…

2. Garden Triclinium

0.17 MILES

This hall was used for annual feasts to honour the dead placed in the Roman Soldier’s Tomb. The hall is unique in Petra because it has carved decoration…

3. Garden Tomb

0.17 MILES

One of the most striking monuments in Wadi Farasa, this tomb may have been used as a temple.

4. Lion Monument

0.18 MILES

Water here was channelled to pour out of the lion’s mouth from the rock face above – an example of Nabataean engineering at its most sophisticated. A…

5. Street of Facades

0.19 MILES

From the Treasury, the passage broadens into what is commonly referred to as the Outer Siq. Riddling the walls of the Outer Siq are more than 40 tombs and…

8. Theatre

0.23 MILES

Originally built by the Nabataeans (not the Romans) more than 2000 years ago, the Theatre was chiselled out of rock, slicing through many caves and tombs…