Al Khazneh

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"The Treasury" redirects here, for other uses see The Treasury (disambiguation)
Petra , Al-Khazneh 2
The first glimpse of Petra's Treasury (Al Khazneh) upon exiting the Siq.
Al Khazneh
Detail of the facade

Al Khazneh ("The Treasury"; Arabic: الخزنة‎) is one of the most elaborate temples in the ancient Edomite city of Petra. As with most of the other buildings in this ancient town, including the Monastery (Arabic: Ad Deir), this structure was carved out of a sandstone rock face. It has classical Greek-influenced architecture, and is a popular tourist attraction.


Al Khazneh was originally built as a mausoleum and crypt at the beginning of the 1st Century AD during the reign of Aretas IV Philopatris.[1] Its Arabic name Treasury derives from one legend that bandits or pirates hid their loot in a stone urn high on the second level. Significant damage from bullets can be seen on the urn. Local lore attributes this to Bedouins, who are said to have shot at the urn in hopes of breaking it open and spilling out the "treasure"—but the decorative urn is in fact solid sandstone. Another legend is that it functioned as a treasury of the Egyptian Pharaoh at the time of Moses (Khaznet Far'oun).[2]

Many of the building's architectural details have eroded away during the two thousand years since it was carved and sculpted from the cliff. The sculptures are thought to be those of various mythological figures associated with the afterlife.[3] On top are figures of four eagles that would carry away the souls. The figures on the upper level are dancing Amazons with double-axes. The entrance is flanked by statues of the twins Castor and Pollux who lived partly on Olympus and partly in the underworld.

In popular culture[edit]

The Treasury has appeared in many Hollywood movies, gaining particular fame after being featured in climactic scenes in the popular 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which it is represented as the entrance to the final resting place of the Holy Grail near Hatay.

Ancient Megastructures: Petra, a television series from National Geographic Channel, is dedicated to the Khazneh, explaining how it was created through human resourcefulness and courageous endeavour.

The Treasury is also depicted in Hergé's The Red Sea Sharks, one of the Adventures of Tintin, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Sky 1 travel series An Idiot Abroad, and the history series The Naked Archeologist.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jordan - Touristic Sites - South of Amman". Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  2. ^ Aretas, I. "Petra: History, Myth, and Earthquakes". pp. 2–3. Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  3. ^ "Petra Map & Monuments". Archived from the original on 4 January 2010. Retrieved 23 December 2009. Its elaborately carved facade is alive with a cast of Nabataean deities and mythological characters ... All are funerary symbols. 

Coordinates: 30°19′21″N 35°27′06″E / 30.32245°N 35.451617°E / 30.32245; 35.451617

External links[edit]