Petra - Nabataeans capital city (Al Khazneh) , Jordan. The Corinthian, Silk and Urn tomb. Roman Empire period.
day, dig, hill, tomb, cave, rock, asia, hole, stone, roman, crypt, petra, empire, jordan, column, period, remain, sacred, mystic, arabic, shrine, facade, outdoor, history, khazneh, arabian, antique, ancient, cemetery, landmark, historic, nabatean, monastery, graveyard, nabataeans, monumental, corinthian, archaeological

©OPIS Zagreb/Shutterstock

Urn Tomb

Top choice in The Ancient City

The most distinctive of the Royal Tombs is the Urn Tomb, recognisable by the enormous urn on top of the pediment. It was built in about AD 70 for King Malichos II (AD 40–70) or Aretas IV (8 BC–AD 40). The naturally patterned interior of the Urn Tomb measures a vast 18m by 20m.

Part of what makes the Urn Tomb such a grand structure is the flanking Doric portico cut into the rock face on the left of the tomb, and the huge open terrace in front of it – a feature that encouraged its use, according to a Greek inscription inside the tomb, as a cathedral in AD 447. The double layer of vaults was added at a later date by the Byzantines. Look towards the top of the building and you’ll see three inaccessible openings carved between the pillars. These are also tombs, the central one of which still has the closing stone intact, depicting the king dressed in a toga.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Ancient City attractions

1. Silk Tomb

0.06 MILES

Next to the distinctive Urn Tomb in the Royal Tomb group is the so-called Silk Tomb, noteworthy for the stunning swirls of pink-, white- and yellow-veined…

2. Corinthian Tomb

0.11 MILES

The badly damaged Corinthian Tomb is something of a hybrid, with Hellenistic decorative features on the upper level and a Nabataean portico on the lower…

3. Royal Tombs

0.12 MILES

Downhill from the Theatre, the wadi widens to create a larger thoroughfare. To the right, the great massif of Jebel Al Khubtha looms over the valley…

4. Cistern

0.13 MILES

Hilltop Nabataean cistern with wonderful views of the Theatre.

5. Palace Tomb

0.14 MILES

The delightful three-storey imitation of a Roman or Hellenistic palace, known as the Palace Tomb, is distinctive among the Royal Tombs for its rock-hewn…

6. Theatre

0.15 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…

7. Street of Facades

0.17 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. Broken Pediment Tomb

0.26 MILES

Erosion has left only a weathered 'keyhole' in the facade of this tomb, accessed via stone steps.