ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Posts tagged “Jebel Al Khubtha

ROYAL TOMBS, THEATRE & MONASTERY, Petra, Jordan

2006.05.20.

After the Treasury, we turned right and walked towards the centre of the former Nabataean capital city.   On the hillside of El Nejr, a splendid theatre was carved out from the red sandstone in the 1st century.  The 45 rows of seats could accommodate an audience of 8,500 people.  Standing at the theatre offered us one of the best view of Petra: numerous rock cut mausoleums, commonly know as the Royal Tombs, carved into the great massif of Jebel Al Khubtha.  From the theatre, we made our way uphill towards another icon of Petra: the Monastery (El Deir). It took us roughly an hour to reach the Monastery from the theatre.  The Monastery was an important ceremonial temple for the Nabataeans.  Similar to the Treasury, the Monastery is a rock-cut building carved out from the cliff.  There is a large forecourt in front of the Monastery, probably a venue for religious ceremonies.  Many believed the building was used as a church during the Byzantine era, which explained where the name Monastery came from.  We sat down at an open tea shop across from the Monastery, where we rested for an hour with the iconic front elevation of the Monastery.

We visited two more lookouts uphill to see the arid valley scenery surrounding Petra.  On our way out we stopped by more royal tombs and small cave dwellings.  We were exhausted from the hike and heat, and our attention had shifted to the unique rock patterns that could be found allover Petra.  From the centre of the lost city, it was another 2km before we returned to the visitor centre.  Everyone seemed to be leaving at the same time, by horses, by donkey carts, on foot, etc.  In the evening, we had a Bedouin cuisine dinner at Red Cave Restaurant and stayed a bit at the Internet cafe in Wadi Musa.

06ME38-04Probably constructed at around 70 AD, the Urn Tomb is one of the first Royal Tombs that we encountered in Petra.

06ME38-06Many believe the Urn Tomb was the final resting place of Nabataean King Malchus II who died in 70 AD.

06ME38-07The main chamber of the tomb was converted into a church during the Byzantine era.

06ME38-08Beside the Urn Tomb stands the Silk Tomb, a mausoleum well known for its rich sandstone patterns.

06ME38-09Nearby, the Corinthian Tomb resembles the feature of the iconic Treasury.

06ME38-11The facade of the Palace Tomb is three storey high.  Some believe the Palace Tomb was inspired by Emperor Nero’s Domus Aurea (Golden House) in Rome.

06ME38-16Most of the tombs, caves and tunnels in the “Rose City” was built between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century AD.

06ME38-1715m in height and 8m in width, Tomb BD 70 is one of the few freestanding structure in Petra.

06ME37-20Both Tomb BD 70 and BD 69 are typical Hegra type tomb structures.

06ME40-26All the rock-cut structures have gone through two thousand years of erosion.

06ME37-24The main theatre of Petra faces east, and was renovated by the Romans during the 1st and 2nd century.

06ME37-23The seating area was entirely carved out of the rock cliff.

06ME37-21From the theatre, we could take in a fantastic view of the Royal Tomb cluster.

06ME37-25Qasr El-Bint (Temple of Dushares) is the largest freestanding structure in Petra.

lion gateLion Triclinium was built in the 1st century intended for ritual banquets. The name obviously came from the two weathered lions at the entrance.

road to monasteryThe trail up to the Monastery involves an uphill climb of 850 steps.

06ME37-31The walk to the Monastery took about 45 minutes to an hour.

mountains behind monasteryScenery of the arid valleys of Wadi Araba was one of the biggest rewards for the hike up to the Monastery.

monasteryApart from the Treasury, the Monastery is probably the most famous structure in Petra. Dedicated to the Nabatean King Obodas I , the ancient temple was built in the 1st century AD.