Obelisk Tomb, Petra
Just after the god-blocks you'll pass what might be considered your first 'proper' Nabatean monument.
The Obelisk tomb gets its name...obviously...from the row of obelisks on its upper level, still very clear even though the location means the rest of the facade has suffered greatly from erosion. But it isn't 'just' a tomb.
There are certainly graves in the cave which lies behind the obelisk level, but the cave in the lower level has a triclinium, a dining room (the Roman name is used) with benches on three sides carved out of the walls. Remembering the dead with an annual family & friends feast was a very common custom in the past and certainly not a custom exclusive to Petra. I've seen exactly the same in many places, including in Maltese and Roman (i.e. in Rome) catacombs.
So I do wonder whether the Romans incorporated the custom of celebrating the dead in this way (i.e. with a specific tricilinium) from their trade and contacts with the Middle East...or whether the Nabateans took the idea from the Romans. There is certainly some suggestion that the upper and lower parts of the structure date from different period (the clear difference in erosion certainly seems to suggest that is the case) and the ancient Nabateans were proven 'magpies', collecting all sorts of bits of culture, arts, sculpture and religion from all the many 'others' who passed through their magnificently wealthy city.
the Obelisk Tomb is the first large and elaborate tomb among the several tombs that you will see around Petra National Park. The Tomb is located at the Bab Al Siq walk, near the Entrance to the Siq Proper. You can go Inside if you want and there is a small trail from the Bab Al Siq to the Tomb. Dating back to the first century BC, the tomb features one chamber containing five graves and four columns extending from the tomb, each measuring 7 meters in height. In addition, there exists a statue among the obelisks of an older man who is thought to be the owner of the Tomb of Obelisks. The ground floor represents a funeral hall that was used for holding celebrations.
After you have walked approx 350 meters you will see the Obelisk Tomb on your left hand side. Even though it was early in the morning, the heat was amazing so Sue and Danny, Anne and I decided to stop in the shade and have a look at this Tomb.
The guide book and brochures advised that this tomb was influenced by the Egyptians in the obelisks at the top of the tomb and the Romans influenced the niches between the obelisks. (Greco-Roman influence.)
The tombs are empty and there was not much to look at inside.
This is one of the first monuments you come across when exploring Petra.
You can see some clear Egyptian influences, but also representation of Greco-Roman style.
I do think that if it was less eroded, it must be a very beautiful monument.
Take it easy on the road into the main part of the site, as there is plenty to see here. The first tomb you pass is also on the road to the Siq, the Obelisk Tomb. Like the Djinn blocks across the street, it is an early example of Nabataeans architecture, and is an interesting mix of Nabataean, Greek and Roman styles.
The Obelisk Tomb is named for the four obelisks on the upper storey of the monument.
The Obelisk was a Nabataean funereal symbol.
The Bab Al-Siq Triclinium is a classical Nabataean design characterised by three rooms. The carved rooms are thought to have been banquet halls to honour the dead.
Although built one on top of the other, these two tombs are quite separate. The facade below the obelisks belong, in fact, to the triclinium.
One of the first things you see on the way to the siq is the Obelisk Tomb, on left side of the first valley. Egyptian and helenistic elements are combined in this first majestic monument, excavated from the rocks. The monument has two different parts. The top section, with clear eqyptian influenced piramidal obelisks, and the low section, which is called "The Triclinium Tomb", because of the three seats that has inside the main chamber, which is coronated by a typical helenistic three side front.
The Obelisk Tomb takes its name from the four Obelisks which decorate its upper storey. This tomb has two stories to it. The top story houses the tomb proper, while the bottom story, decorated in a more classical style contains a traditional dining hall for Nabataean funnery rites. The Obelisk was a common Nabataean funerary symbol and clearly demonstrates Egyptian influence. An inscription in both Greek and Nabataean to be found opposite it, refers to a family tomb built by Abdmank which may well be the Obelisk tomb itself.
This is a little bit further down, and is a foretaste of what is to come. It is not sheltered from the wind and rain in any way and is badly eroded.
The top half is a tomb, supposedly for four people, although no remains of any kind have been found. The lower half is a triclinium, or "dining room" for the family making a formal visit to the tomb. There are stone benches inside.
You can't see this strange tomb!!! You are again outside the Siq and just few metres far from the Djinn Blocks, there is a such wonder!!! You can recognize the tomb thank the four obelisks in the facede.
The tomb was make probably during the Malichos' II kingdom (40-70 AD) and it remeber the Egyptian culture, infact in that time the Nabatean God Dusharah was very popular in Alexandria of Egypt. The facade have got four obelisks and every obelisk is call nefesh and it remember the deceased. The tombs were inside the rock along the internal walls.
In the Triclinium (dining room) people eat during the commemoration of the deads.
The Obelisk Tomb is one of the more interesting monuments on the Eastern side of Siq Gorge. It is called the "Obelisk Tomb" because of the four obelisk-like structures that come out of the top of the tomb. They were probably carved in order to represent four gods. Seen beneath the obelisks in the foreground is the Triclinium which is decorated with columns, lintels and pediments most of which have greatly erode.
Along the patch to the entrance of As-Siq, there are 4 pyramidal obelisks, built as funerary symbols by the Nabataeans in the 1st century BC. You should not miss it along the path.