Qasr al Bint, Petra
This is the best preserved free-standing building in Petra. It is the temple of the main Nabataean god Dushara. Its name means "Palace of the Pharaoh's Daughter". It is an enormous temple and would have been an extremely costly one to build. It is yet another example of how much wealth there was in this city in its day.
Built in about 30 BC by the Nabataens & one of the few free-standing structures in Petra. The Temple was however destroyed in the 3rd Century AD, it originally stood 23m high & had marble staircases, imposing columns & a raised platform for worship. The remains can give you some idea of how impressive the Temple once was.
Standing rather plainly and massively as it does, the Temple of Qasr el Bint Faroun (Castle of the Pharoah's Daughter), probably once the most imposing of all buildings in central Petra, is now strangely one of the ugliest! It is also known as the Temple of Dushara - the Nabatean's principle God.
It was the most sacred of precincts, walled off on all four sides. Built approximately 50BC, it was regularly altered and decorated over a period of 3-400 years (hence the many different styles) before falling into disrepair and finally destroyed by earthquakes in the 6th century.
It has been extensively renovated and its quite fascinating to watch people give it hardly a second glance as they walk past it - the same people (and i include myself) who moreorless used a roll of film per building on the way down!
The Temple of the Pharaoh's daughter was also a nabatean temple. Is supposed to be a palace, but also a temple dedicated to the god of Dushara, the nabatean highest divinity. It has been "built" and not excavated in the rock.
Qasr Al-Bint Temple is the only substantial stone-built structure in Petra still standing. Constructed some time around 30 BC - 40 AD, it was the most important temple of the town, dedicated to Dushara, the chief God of the Nabataeans, who later became assimilated with the more familiar Greek god of wine, Dionysus, especially important in Petra due to the custom of funerary banquets where wine would have been drunk.
Inside, the temple is divided into 3 rooms of which the middle room would have served as the holy of holies. This would have had a raised platform bearing a representation of the god Dushara. The typical Nabataean way of representing their deities was by a stone god block (betyle) with a stylized portrayal of the eyes, nose and mouth.
Later, under Greco-Roman influence, they began to depict their gods in statue form. We know from other sources that the interior of Dushara's temple gleamed with the many gold offerings, which filled it. The temple was damaged in the late 3rd century AD, but, remarkably, the main walls remained standing in spite of several subsequent earthquakes.
After the Qasr el Bint you are in "the Basin", where a lot of things are happening. From here you can move in various directions : visit the Petra Museum, pause at the restaurants and the toilets, or turn off in various directions. To the left is Wadi Thugra, which among other places leads you to Jebel Haroun and eventually to Wadi Araba passing a number of other small tombs. It is not on the whole a good idea to go this way without a guide, this is the way to the wild and generally unsignposted places.
Turn to the right on a made up road and eventually you will come to the "back" entrance to Petra, which is the way used by cars and very occasionally tourist buses. The gate at the top is guarded by police, and they do not allow unauthorized people to pass - in either direction!
If you go straight on, down the valley of Wadi Siyyagha you will reach the spring, where pools of water can usually be seen and which are still used by local people. There's no way out of this valley, you will have to return by the same way.
Posted by Lulu
The Qasr el Bint al-Faraoun ("The House of the Daughter of Pharaoh") was a Nabatean temple, and has the distinction of being only temple actually built at Petra, that remains, rather than being carved into the rock. A French team has been working here for several years, and very recently discovered a huge marble statue of Marcus Aurelius.
It is here that the head of another statue, that of Zeus, was found which can now be seen in the Petra Museum. It is believed that there was a hallway lined with statues, but since most of the minor ones were carved out of sandstone they have disintegrated over the years.
The Qasr el Bint was one of the most important temples in Petra, and was almost certainly dedicated to Dushara.
Posted by Lulu
The only building of Petra made with massive blocks of yellow sandstone, it is the temple Qasr al-Bint Firaun ("The Castle of Pharaoh's Daughter"). This temple was dedicate to Dushara. It was the principal god of the Nabataeans; his partner, the fertility goddess Atagartis, was worshipped at the Temple of the Winged Lions, which faces the Temple of Dushara from a low rise to the north-east of the Temenos gateway. In Roman times, these temples would have been taken over for the worship of the appropriate Roman gods, possibly Apollo and Artemis respectively.
The Qsar Al-Blint Temple has the destinction of being the only monument in Petra that is not carved out of the rockface. It was built around 40 B.C. It's real purpose is actually unknown but rather than a place of worship it could have been a palace or even a fortress, the latter of which seems unlikely to me. The building consisted of a courtyard with three interior rooms topped off by a terrace. It is assumed by archeologists that the facade of the structure was decorated with geometrical reliefs. An inscription on the south wall of the courtyard states that the building was the property of the King. I think there is a tendency of tourists to overlook this monument for the fact that it was not a rockcut structure, hence oh-hum just another ruin.
Back to the Cardo Maximo, once you pass what’s left of the door, you can see this building on your right.
This it the only religious building that has been built by the Nabataneans (1st century BC) and not directly carved into the rock. His name means Palace of the Pharaoh’s Daughter. According to an old legend a princess would have lived here and promised her hand to the first man able to install current water in the palace…
Qasr al-Bint Firaun is Nebataean and dates from around 30BC, and is Petra's only Nabataean free standing building.
Qsar al-Bint, means "Castle of the Pharos Daughter" in the Bedeu language. It is also known as the Temple of Dushara, after the god Dushara who was worshipped there. It is thought that this free standing building was the Nabataeans main place of worship.
Legend goes a Nabataean Princess professed the "any man who could supply running water to Qsar al-Bint Fariun, she would marry".....................No man ever did.