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Urn Tomb - Al Mahkamah Tips (18)

11. Al-Mahkamah

Al-Mahkamah ('the court'), one of the 'royal tombs' carved out of he East Cliff, is the B'dul name for what is known as the Urn Tomb (because its facade is topped by a huge carved urn). The B'dul call the arched chambers underneath its courtyard 'As-Sijin', 'the prison'. Although there is no evidence that either structure ever had that function, perhaps the B'dul know better? After all, they have lived in Petra for centuries and centuries, long before the site became known to those outside the immediate area.

The Urn tomb was certainly first created as the tomb of someone very important indeed, perhaps for one or more of Petra's royal family, but nobody actually knows who was buried there (nor are we ever likely to find out).

It is particularly unusual (probably unique in Petra) because the carved niches (properly called 'loculi') for the bodies are in its facade rather than the interior of the tomb. There are three such loculi set amongst the pillars, one of the tombs inside still partly sealed by a slab of stone.

The tomb has a large courtyard area in front and a commanding position overlooking the main part of the ancient city. In 447AD/CE it was converted into a Christian church during the time of one Bishop Jason, and an inscription inside records that fact. You can still see holes in the floor where various bits of church architecture (pulpit, tables etc) were fixed.

It is worth the climb up just to see the beautiful rock colours exposed in the ceiling of the tomb and for the superb views over the site from its courtyard.

leics's Profile Photo
Feb 18, 2015

Petra 10 - The Urn Tomb

The Urn Tomb is another impressive Tomb that has been carved into the sheer cliffs of Petra.

It is believed that the Tomb was made for King Malichos II in approx. 70 AD.

This tomb is impressive because it has a forecourt/terrace that has several columns on each side. You then enter a huge hall that was converted to a church around 500 years ago. The entire tomb has been carved deep into the mountain and the tomb even has a porch with 4 pillars/columns that appear to be supporting the roof. The tomb also has an attic!

K.Knight's Profile Photo
Nov 13, 2009

Urn Tomb

This large tomb competes with the Khazneh and the Deir in terms of size and grandeur.
Its immense courtyard and main chamber give an air of importance.

Above the doorway are three chambers. The central chamber is blocked by a large stone presumed to be a depiction of the man buried inside.

FruitLover's Profile Photo
May 06, 2006

The Urn Tomb

This structure got it's name from the jar that crowns the pediment. A Greek Byzantine inscription records that the hall, which was originally a royal tomb, was converted into a church by Bishop Jason in 447 A.D.

Apr 13, 2006
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The Urn Tomb - Petra

The Urn Tomb is a very imposing and impressive tomb that dominates the cliff face overlooking the Roman Road. To get to it you have to climb a few stairs but the views from the terrace are pretty good once you are up there. The tomb was once used as a church in Byzantine times and there are carving on the rear wall that record the consecration of the church by Bishop Jason in 447AD. The inside chamber is a massive 20 by 18 meters and contains 3 apps along the back wall that were carved out when the tomb was converted to a church.

GandalfOnTour's Profile Photo
Apr 07, 2006

Inside the Urn Tomb

The majestic chamber inside the Urn Tomb, used as church by byzantines. It's really amazing. And huge. And full of colours. On the picture, you can see, from inside, one of the entrances, and some of the columns of the lateral facade.

MiguelMV's Profile Photo
Jan 07, 2006

The Urn Tomb

Part of the Royal Tombs, the Urn Tomb was lately used by byzantines to build a monastery (the archade below). The facade with its 4 columns is very majestic. The inside part is really huge, and all of it excavated from the rock. It has a really big room which used to be covered by marble. Byzantins took the marble away, and now you can see the magnificent different colours of the arenisque rocks. This part was used as a church in the V century A.D. by byzantines.

MiguelMV's Profile Photo
Jan 07, 2006

Urn Tomb

The Urn Tomb was bulit around 70 AD. This structure faces out over an open terrace fronted by a double row of vaults. A colonnaded cloister runs along the northern side of the terrace. The only decoration in the tomb are the coloured sandstone in the chamber. This huge tomb was used in the 5th century as a Byzantine church.

Blatherwick's Profile Photo
Aug 23, 2005
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"Petra : the city of the caravans"
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"Petra: a wonderful town"
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"A love story with Petra"
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"The Nabataean City"
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"Petra - a highlight of Jordan"
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The Courthouse (or "The Urn Tomb")

A very dramatic tomb, which in Roman times was used as a courthouse, hence its second name. Like the other important tombs, it is laid out with a courtyard in front of it.

If you look in exactly the right direction from the top of the steps you can see the great urn on the top of the Monastery. Early travellers spotted it, and spent a frustrating couple of days trying to find the way there.

Posted by Lulu

TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
Aug 07, 2005

Urn Tomb

The Urn Tomb is the first Rowal Tomb that you see from the theatre. It's a fantastic monument that faces out over an open terrace fronted by a double row of vaults probably built during the Kingdom of Malichos II (70 AD). A colonnaded cloister runs along the northern side of the terrace. The elaborate facade with four columnes fronts a single, unadorned room wide 18*20 metres. The walls of the room are smooth, the interior corners exact. The only decoration to be seen at present comes from the beautiful whorls of different-coloured sandstone in the walls, ceiling and floor of the chamber. Probably in 447 the tomb became a Byzantine Church as it's write on a wall inside the room.

Cristian_Uluru's Profile Photo
Apr 08, 2005

Urn Tomb

The Urn tomb is one of the impressive Royal Tombs. It is not actually known who the kings are the name refers to.

Inside the huge room measures 20 meters by 18 meters!

As you can see by the photo of me in the doorway, Its a big place


freya_heaven's Profile Photo
Nov 10, 2004

The Urn Tomb

This is probably the most famous of the Royal Tombs that are carved into Jebel Khubtha mountain, and it dates back to the 1st century AD. Up the stairs and inside it's one of the largest tombs in Petra and is believed to be the burial place of King Malik II.

In the Byzantine period it was turned into a cathedral and the stairs and brick vaults underneath are from this period.

mafi_moya's Profile Photo
Oct 14, 2004

Things To Do in Petra

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I was fortunate enough to have lived in Amman for 5 years in the late 70's and my work often took me to Petra where i managed to visit the Nabataean City several times, and back then it was free for...
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