Petra, Capital City of the Nabateans Header

Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography


The Sacred City from Glasshouse Media on Vimeo.

Arriving at Petra
The Walk Into Petra
The Siq
The Small Siq
Street of Facades
Water Works
The Theater
The Royal Tombs
High Place
Colonnade Street
Great Temple
Temple of Al Uzza
Temple of Dushares
The Museum 
The Dier 
Al Habis
Um Al-Biera
Jebal Haroun
City of Board Games
Snake Monument
Sabara Suburb
City Walls/Map
Al Beidha
Al Beidha Village
Kubtha High Place
Wadi Nmeir 
Small Delights
The Bedul
Petra Today 
Petra Park
Is Petra the
Holy City of Islam?




 PETRA: Jebal Habis

Jebal Habis is a small mountain that stands at the back of Petra. It is dwarfed by the huge shadow of Um al Biera behind it. Jebal Habis is an important mountain however, for along it's bottom are many tombs and on the south end and along the top there are the remains of a small crusader castle. If you stop at the ancient pistachio tree in the center of Petra, at the Nymphium, the old man who runs the soda pop shop will probably point to Jebal Habis and ask you if you can see the camel in it. And sure enough, the north end of the mountain looks like a camel's head.

Two mountains



The photo to the left shows Um al Biera mountain in the background, and in the foreground (right), the smaller Jebal Habis.

Habis mountain Jebal Habis contains many facinating monuments. One of them is known as the Unfinished Tomb. (Left) Note that the sculptors began by carving the tomb from the top down. This tomb would have been very impressive if it had been completed. Why was it left at this stage? Did the owner of the tomb never die or did he just move away?
 Unfinnished tomb

Was this to be the tomb of a rich Nabataean merchant, who decided to move farther into the Roman Empire once Rome took possession of Petra in 106 AD? We will probably never know.

A closer view of the unfinnished tomb. This is actually a very large toom, perhaps one of the largest in Petra. This tomb however, demostrates to us that the Nabataeans carved them from the top down.


The Columbarium (above) as another facinating monument on Jebal Habis. A columbarium is a place with tiers of niches for the reception of cinerary urns. The niches in this cave at Petra are only 30 cm square, so they could not have been used for this purpose. Some have suggested that the niches would have been used for carrier pigeons, thus making it a post office. The problem with this is that the niches are too shallow. The niches at Petra's Columbarium are unique in that they slope in from the top.

The only other suggestion that makes any sense, is that this monument held small shelves for displaying goods that were for sale. But what did they put on the shelves?

To see another rock cut similar to this click here.

front stairs
The stairway up to Jebal Habis Crusader Castle is impressive and worth climbing.

A map of the Jebal Habis Cursader Castle.Click on it to see a larger version.
 From on top of mounatin The castle at the top of Habis is a disappointment. Most of the walls have fallen down in earthquakes. However, the view directly down onto the restaurant is breathtaking. Just don't get too close to the edge!
The Royal tombs  The view of the Colonnade Street, the Great Temple, and the central valley of Petra make up for the disappointment over the castle.

Wadi behind
Around the back side of Jebal Habis is a beautiful narrow valley complete with stone quarries.This is a great place for quiet contemplation or bird watching. footer with menus