The tresury is probaply the best known place in Petra.
It has most likely been the grave of an ancient king, but it yet has to be completely determined.
It´s a fantastic building carved out in the red sand stone rock and it chnges color all day long depending on the light.
This is where you fall in love with Petra. Carved into the rock at 43m high & 30m wide the facade is an amazing piece of work. Stand in the entrance inbetween the columns & you get some idea how impressive the scale of it is. The interior however is just an unadorned square hall.
The Star attraction of Petra and rightly so.
Everyone who is an Indiana Jones fan will recognise the Treasury, but no matter how hard I searched, that Holy Grail was nowhere to be found. Immortality escapes me yet again...
Ive probably seen the treasuary (Al Khaznah) over a dozen times ...
Yet I can`t say two times were the same. The scene is always diffrent ..... it changes with the sun light, the weather, the number of tourist & how loud they are. But it is always a glorious scene.
The first grand monument of Petra you see as you enter the city is the Al Khazneh (the Treasury). It's an incredibly sight as the view of it opens up exiting the last few meters of the Siq. Almost every tourist stops and staggers, catching their breath as they stand and stare at the vast building carved out of solid red stone.
Despite its name it's actually a tomb, and one of clear Greek influences. The name "Treasury" came about because of a local myth that pirates hoarded their treasure inside the urn on top of the facade. In fact you can still see the bullet marks where the local bedoins tried to crack open the urn with their rifles.
Inside the Treasury you won't find the Holy Grail, as was depicted in Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark. Instead the insides are a lot less dramatic than the outer facade. Instead you will find evidence of a massive earthquake which struck the city, and if you are lucky maybe a Bedouin guard or two. They very kindly agreed to have their picture taken with me, but the light inside the Treasury was obviously bad, so not such great shots.
To get the best pictures of the Treasury you need to arrive before 11am. As you can see from the pictures here, one taken at about midday, and the other at around 4am, the light bleeds from the chasm containing the Treasury before midday has even been reached. The same can be said for the rest of Petra, where the high sides and the mountains can make daylight end much earlier than you would expect.
I will never in my whole life forget the glimpse, we had been walking and admiring the siq for 1.2 Kilometres, then all of a sudden out of nowhere a glimpse of the famous Treasury just sprung up before my eyes, framed by the 2 sides of the siq was this amazing structure.
I hope that your first glimpse of the siq will be as memorable as mind.
The Royal Jordanian Police is on patrol mainly on the main square. They are here to protect the visitors and also to protect the ancient city from tourists who would like to take stones with them. Clearly this is not permitted and one should leave only footprints. Those tourists who carved their names into the buildings "I was here" etc. should be stoned on this main square.
An attractive photo makes the view from the front of the treasury onto the large main square with the narrow gorge that is leading to Petra being in the background. The large columns of the Treasury are visible in the front.
The Treasury is fenced off and one is not permitted to walk inside. However one can take a peak and see the massive rooms in the inside and large door ways leading to other rooms and also to the upper parts. Nothing is inside those rooms today and most of the artifacts that have been found are now in various museums around the world.
The Treasury has to be seen and I don't think any explanation will make due to the day when one is able to see it with once own eyes. This massive building carved into the stone - simply look at the people in this picture and you get an idea how big this building actually is.
I have visited Petra now twice already. On my first visit our guide asked us to close our eyes shortly before we got the first view of the Treasury. We then stumbled forward a few steps and he told us to open our eyes. I almost fell over - the impressive sight of the Treasury standing right in front of one was simply astonishing.
The Khaznat is 40 metres high! It is believed that it is such good condition due to the relatively protected space it stands in - a relatively small open plaza surrounded on three sides by 50 metre+ cliffs protected it from the worse excesses of erosion.
Although known as the Treasury, it is believed that, due to the distinctive features, it was more likely to be a shrine or temple rather than a tomb. But others believe it to be a Royal Tomb (as are most of the facades left standing). It gained its name 'The Treasury of the Pharoah' as a result of the local legend that the urn at the top of the facade contains treasure left by a Pharoah. This idea continues with another, slightly more contemporary legend that the same urn contains pirates treasure.
In typical Nabataean style, it is the facade that is elaborated carved - the interior rooms or chambers are no more than carved out of the rock and very plain squares.
The age is disputed, but is believed to be from the late Hellenistic period (First Century BC).
The first glimpse and it is the most famous image of all the facades in Petra - Khaznat el-Faroun (Treasury of the Pharoah). Not just because it graces the pages/postcards etc of Jordanian tourist literature, but because yer man Indiana Jones alias Harrison Ford battled for the Holy Grail in the Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade' on this very spot.
It may seem to take an eternity from the beginning of the Siq to the first glimpse of the Treasury, and, even though expectations are high, you've seen images countless times, that first glimpse is completely awe -inspiring.
I noticed all the group tours in and out of Jordan only allow 1/2 day to 1 day to visit Petra. And if you are like me, Petra is the reason to go to Jordan. So I opted out of a tour and found my own transport & accommodations (Taxi from the Amman Airport & the Crown Plaza, easy & easy!)
Petra really deserves more then 1 day! I stayed 3 & it was perfect , however even then, I did not see everything! They sell a 3 day pass (16 jd) & the 4th day is free. The night tour is wonderful & highly recommended (12jd), it is only offered a couple days a week so check as soon as you arrive. I did one 5 hour day tour (35 jd) with a guide, Mohammad, & he was awesome! The tours are private, arranged thru the Visitors Center, & the guides are fluent in many languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, and of course Arabic.) Also it is recommended that you hire a carriage when taking a tour (thru the Visitors Center 20 jd) as there is so much to see, the carriage will move you there faster.
At least once, I do recommend passing on a carriage or horse ride & walking down. It is not very far & a very nice downhill walk. It will however, be a test of your patience to pass the carriage & horses as the drivers pester pester pester you trying to get you to pay for a ride (it can become rather annoying!) But well worth it! The path is kept very clean from animal droppings. And once all the carriages pass - the silence in the canyons is amazing, & you can see the aqueducts and many other things you would miss whizzing past on a carriage.
I also recommend going down into Petra very early in the morning (before the buses of tourists get there and the carriages start). The Treasury is a vision in the morning light & the silence is powerful.
The horses & Carriages only can bring you to the Treasury, donkey's and camels can bring you the rest of the way. As the park was once home to The Bedouins, they run all of the businesses within the Park, & they offer different transportation at different locations.