The Treasury, or Al-Khazneh, is Petra's most impressive façade, which is reached by the Siq. It stands about 40 meters tall and is richly ornamented with Corinthian pillars, friezes, sculptures, and other details. As per local belief, the Treasury is capped by a funeral urn containing a pharaoh's riches. It is a beautiful sensation to gaze at one of the world's most iconic buildings.
The Treasury has become the face of Petra and the major reason for hordes of visitors to organize their trip to the Rose City since its depiction on Indiana Jones, which is logical given Al Khazneh's splendor. Although the Hellenistic facade is over 2,000 years old, it is in remarkably good condition. Visitors may view many minute details and admire the incredible craftsmanship that went into creating this one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
When Was The Treasury Built?
There is no definite proof about the construction of Al-Khazneh. For a long period, multiple efforts to date the structure were based mainly on stylistic parallels and the backdrop of historical facts and other building operations in Nabataean Petra. However, in 2003, a large archaeological excavation was conducted.
Specific plaza parts were inspected, and the ancient burials beneath the Khazneh were unearthed to the greatest extent feasible. According to the findings of this excavation, the Khazneh was constructed in the latter part of King Aretas IV's rule.
The Intended Purpose Of The Treasury Of Petra
The Treasury's purpose remains uncertain. Some archaeologists think it was a monastery, whereas others believe it was a storage facility. Furthermore, a graveyard was discovered below the Treasury during the most recent digging.
Meanwhile, the sunken basin on its threshold with a canal running outside, presumably for libations or ceremonial washing, provides a major clue. This feature is not found on any of Petra's tomb monuments, but it is seen on the High Site of Sacrifice, implying that the Treasury was once a place of worship, maybe a tomb temple.
What Does The Treasury Look Like?
The façade of the Treasury displays the imprint of Alexandria, the finest city in the eastern Mediterranean at the period, and represents Hellenistic architecture. On the upper level, it has a broken cornice and a center tholos, an architectural arrangement that arose in Alexandria. Throughout the building, ornate Corinthian pillars have been used.
The sculptural ornamentation further emphasizes a link to the Hellenistic civilization. Amazons and Victories pose on the upper level, surrounding a female figure who is most likely Isis-Tyche, a blend of the Egyptian Deity Isis and Tyche, the Greek Deity of good luck. Other elements from the Hellenistic world's creative traditions include eagles, imperial Ptolemies' emblems, vines, and foliage. However, the tomb does include rosettes, a design originally linked with the ancient Middle East.
Is It Possible To Go Inside The Treasury?
The interior is locked, yet visitors can peep through the cracks.
There is simply a blank cubical hall inside the Treasury entrance, with smaller rooms branching off it, the entryway porch flanked by apartments with odd circular openings above their doorways.
Best Time To Visit
- Petra is best visited in the autumn or spring when the weather is not too warm. To beat the rush, visit the Lost City earlier during the day.
- If visitors want to have the Treasury to themself, then they should go early in the morning or just before closing time. It will be busy with people and camels during afternoons.
Some Other Attractions Near The Treasury
The Treasury is certainly the main attraction in Petra, but there are a few more adjacent attractions that are well worth seeing.
The Monastery is Petra's biggest structure and is a must-see for anybody visiting the Lost City.
It's a bit of a journey to get there, with over 800 steps to climb, but it's well worth it. The Monastery is just as beautiful as Petra's most famous structure, the Treasury, and its distant position keeps the throng at bay. The views from the top are also remarkable.
The colossal rock theatre, which was carved straight into the cliff, could hold up to 8,500 spectators. The Petra Theater's design was inspired by Roman theatres and was built to improve acoustics.
The Royal Tombs
The grand "Royal Tombs," a series of many enormous tombs with spectacular facades etched into the hill, rise impressively above Petra's center.
Visitors must first ascend a stairwell that leads to the famed Urn Tomb, which served as a house of worship during the Roman Empire.
The Colonnaded Street
Colonnaded Street was among historic Petra's major shopping lanes. It was the city's beating heart, bordered by shops and residential properties.
A communal fountain on the right side of the roadway serves as a source of water for the old Nabataeans. Dozens of groundwater tanks can be found around Petra. Rainwater was collected and transported into the city by the primitive Nabataeans. Many pipelines and channels used to transport water into Petra, Jordan, may be seen if visitors look closely when exploring Petra.
The Treasury was built to amaze, and the impression hasn't faded even after two millennia. The first thing that strikes visitors is how well maintained it is; cut deep into the cliff face and hidden in a high-walled oval of a valley, it has been shielded from the elements since the beginning. The pillars and friezes on the façade are still crisply detailed. Though guests are not permitted to enter, the exteriors are undoubtedly worth seeing.