Nobody can stay indifferent in front of the great Palace Tomb of Petra: This ancient relic of the Nabatean kingdom is one of the most beautiful spots of the Petra Archeological Park and a must-see for visitors.
History of the Palace Tomb, Petra
Like the other Royal Tombs in Petra, the Palace Tomb was built in the latter half of the 1st century AD, to serve as the last resting place for the most significant Nabatean kings. Just like the impressive Petra Treasury - the most famous structure of the park - This tomb was also carved into the cliffs and was influenced by Hellenistic designs - but here starts the difference: Not all of this tomb was carved, and researchers don't know why.
The Palace Tomb in Petra (By xorge CC BY-SA 2.0)
The first thing you'll notice about the Palace Tomb is the huge façade is 49 meters tall and 46 meters wide, which makes it one of the largest in Petra. It was constructed in three stories, and the top one reach over the cliff; it was built over the carvings, maybe to resemble a Hellenistic or roman castle.
While preserved brilliantly, the sands of time did grind the top of the structure, and several blocks fell from the top in the winter of 1988. UNESCO helped the Jordanian government in financing the building's conservation, for future generations to enjoy.
As you walk into the lower story, note its four shrines and paths of decorated columns leading into the tomb's four burial halls. The second story looks identical at first glance, but its columns are different, and you'll note the large square graves, carved into the walls like Petra's structures. Note that the light falls differently there, giving you a chance for some creative photography.
The entrance to the Palace Tomb in Petra (By Bernard Gagnon CC BY-SA 3.0)
Plan Your Visit
- Opening Times: Summer 06:00-18:00; Winter 06:00-16:00.
- Prices: 90 JOD, but travelers who join a Petra tour from Israel will have the entrance price included in their tour. Pro Tip: If you’re not visiting Petra with a guided tour, buy the Jordan Pass for a discount to the Petra Archaeological Park.
- Average Visit Duration: 20-30 minutes,
- Popular Times: The best time to visit Petra is in the early morning or late afternoon.
- Special Events: A magnificent candlelight spectacle takes place in front of the Treasury on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 20:30. The path leading towards the Treasury and the Treasury itself is lit up with over 1,500 candles. The show features bedouin music, a light show, and tea.
- Relevant Tours: Every tour of the park goes through the Royal Tombs area, but you might not have enough time to explore and take all the pics you want if you're on a one-day tour of Petra; If you take a two-day Petra tour you could see MUCH more, such as the amazing Petra Monastery, Qasr Al-Bint temple, and include the Petra by Night show. With a Petra tour from Tel Aviv, you’ll see two countries on one trip.