The Royal Tombs at Petra. One of the largest cemeteries in the ancient Near East, Petra’s tombs exhibit a large variety of forms, from simple shaft-tombs to elaborately ornamented temples and palace-like monuments. Contrary to previous thought, the variety of types and styles primarily reflects the social division of Nabatean society, rather than a stylistic development over a long period of time.

Some of the largest and most magnificent funerary monuments at Petra appear in this rock wall. The Tomb of the Urn, at upper center, employs decorative elements found in simpler monuments, but stands out from the others by the two rows of vaults that support its court; it takes its name from the large urn—a funerary symbol—that decorates its top.