Nabatean Betyls – Petra, Jordan

Niches in the rock walls of the  Siq with betyls in the form of miniature pillars.

The Nabateans left behind evidence of their religious belief along the Siq in Petra. Niches and little altars carved into the rock are widely seen in Petra. This niche with a betyl is an example. The niche was a miniature temples . Nabatean niches often contain a stone pillar or betyls that were carved out of rock.

A  betyl such as the one seen in the photograph is a sacred stone which was dedicated to the Gods or revered as symbols of the Gods themselves. According to ancient sources, betyls were meteorites that had fallen to earth and were believed to be endowed  with life.


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