Photo by Jane Taylor/Sonia Halliday Photographs

Gatekeepers of the Gods? These two 18-foot-tall stone pillars stand just below the Nabataeans’ High Place of Sacrifice on the summit of Jebel Madhbah. A mountain-top courtyard sacred to the Nabataeans’ greatest deities, Dushara and al-Uzza, the high place was probably the most important cultic site in Nabataean religion. No one is certain what rituals or ceremonies took place there, but the presence of several easily recognizable sacrificial altars has given the site its name. Some scholars suggest that the twin obelisks are aniconic images of Dushara and al-Uzza.