As you come to the end of the Siq, the first and greatest monument of Petra slowly comes into view. The Siq opens up onto Petra’s most magnificent façade - the Treasury or Al Khazneh. It stands at almost 40 meters high and is intricately decorated with friezes, statues and other features carved from the rock.
Although the original function is still a mystery, the Khazneh is believed by many archaeologists to be the mausoleum of King Aretas IV (9BC- 40AD).
Another is that it functioned as a treasury of the Egyptian Pharaoh of the time of Moses (Khaznet Far'oun).
You can watch my 3 min 53 sec HD Video Jordan Petra part 4 Treasury out of my Youtube channel.
Once you have adjusted to it's awe and beauty, have a look inside.
A colossal doorway dominates the outer court and leads to an inner chamber of 12 square meters. At the back of the chamber is a sanctuary with an ablution basin (for ritual washing), suggesting that the Treasury was a temple or some other kind of holy place. The chamber can no longer be entered, but it is possible to look in from the doorway.
There is a funerary urn at the top of the Treasury which according to local legend conceals pharaoh’s treasures.
It is unknown as why Al Khazneh was originally built, probably between 100 BC and 200 AD. Its Arabic name Treasury derives from one legend that bandits or pirates hid their loot in a stone urn high on the second level.
There are burial chambers on either side of a ramp which were excavated in 2003.
The Treasury's façade has two levels, decorated with columns, classical rooflines and badly weathered sculptures. Perched atop the façade is an eagle, a Nabataean (and Greek) male deity symbol.
The central figure on the upper level tholos may be the fertility goddess of Petra, El-Uzza (associated to the Egyptian goddess Isis). The vertical footholds on either side may have been made to aid the sculptors.
The portal on the bottom level is reached by small flight of steps, and is flanked by mounted figures believed to be Castor and Pollux, sons of Zeus.
This is what we are all looking for when we go to Petra, beautiful indeed. Thanks to it we see the rest of Petra that is worth also the travel. Protected of the wind for its location, the erosion have not work so much over its fachade. Columns, figures, conical roof, all worked with great maestri. You can easily see the steps at the wall going up to the top that were used to reach the top and do the work, from the top to down.
The best moment when you get to te end of the Siq and you get the first view of the Treasury.
About 40 meter high, completely carved in the rock, this is however the most impressing building of Petra. Kazneh means treasure; it was not a temple but simply a tomb. The Bedouins have long thought that the urn at the top was containing the treasure of the dead that has rested there for some time. That’s why you can see lots of bullet impacts on this part of the building: they simply tried to break this recipient open. Bad luck this is just plain stone! I’m glad they had no bazooka at that time…
We can’t say for sure when this tomb has been built: at some point between 1st century BC and 2nd AC. The decoration is inspired from Greek, Egyptian and Assyrian architecture. The stunning part is that most probably the sculptors had never seen these foreign countries. They took their ideas from the tales told by the numerous merchants passing by.
At least, that's what I've been told by a local guide. I've read somewhere else that the architects had indeed studied in Alexandria....
The Khazneh, called the Treasury, is probably one of the best known monuments in the Middle East, and most certainly the most famous in Jordan! It is in a most remarkable state of preservation, being cut deep into the rock face and tucked away in a valley where wind and rain, not to mention flying sand, has little chance of penetrating. Try to arrange to see it in the morning, between about 9 and 11am, when the sun is shining on it.
Posted by Lulu
Al-Khaznehis the best-known of the monuments at Petra and you can see it after the long wolk in the Siq. The facade, carved out from the sandstone cliff wall, is 43m high and 30m wide, and is remarkably well-preserved. As all the monuments of Petra. it has got an impressive facade, a large square room has been carved out of the rock of the cliff. The corners and walls have been squared off meticulously, but no attempt has been made to extend the excavations further or to reproduce the kind of ornate carving of the exterior. This is typical of the tombs in Petra; the interiors are as plain as the exteriors are intricate.
The Treasury, called the Khazneh, is probably the best known monument in the Middle East, and most certainly the most famous in Jordan!
The archaeologists are excavating the area in front of it, called "The Plaza". They have already found the remains of a couple of fountains, or possibly just basins of water.
They think that in the high days of the Nabateans it looked like this
Posted by Lulu
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.
Very recently (summer 2004) new rooms have been discovered at the foot of the building. You can see them at the bottom-left part of this picture. These rooms being below the ground level, they have been covered with a gate.
By the way, this picture has been taken from a place close to the top of the sik. This is just a small walk through an almost inexistent path from Djebel Al-Khubta (see following tip). I have been crazy enough to follow this path on my own but it could be wiser to hire a guide amongst the Bedouins.
At the end of the walk, finally comes this magical moment where you discover the Treasure, this finely sculpted façade still half hidden by the rough stones of the siq.
This is a classical view of Petra. If you have never been to Jordan and the picture still rings a bell, stop thinking where you could have seen it. A possible answer could be Indiana Jones!! In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, that’s where the Holy Graal had been hidden. However if you remember the movie, there were several caves inside and still many traps before accessing the Graal. Sorry to disappoint you but in reality this is much simpler: there is just a couple of relatively uninteresting cubic rooms inside…
The name Al-Khazneh, which in Arabic means 'treasury',comes from the legend that it was used as a hiding place for treasure. Archeologists think that Al-Khazneh seems to have been something between a temple and a tomb, possibly both at once.
People who have seen the film of Indiana Jones will be disappointed to discover that the interior behind the spectacular facade of Treasury is small and not really very interesting. The photo on the left shows the narrow entrance to the Siq immediately opposite. The archaeologists are excavating the area in front of the Khazneh called "The Plaza". They have already found the remains of a couple of fountains, or possibly just basins of water.
Posted by Lulu
The Monastery (Al-Deir) is the largest monument in Petra. It is 50 metres wide and 45 metres high and looks really impressive (can you see the small donkey in front of Al-Deir in the picture?).
Al-Deir is far away from the other monuments but it is worth to climb to see it. It takes about 45 minutes by foot, but you can always pay for a donkey to take you up. The path starts close to the restaurant.
When the gorge gets really narrow and the walls seem to close over your head, than the end is reached. It is like walking through a door and your eyes suddenly focus on the Treasury. After the darkness in the gorge, the view of the treasury in full sunlight is very impressive.