The Gallery: Buildings

Treasury at Petra

We’ve seen a lot of buildings during our travels but my favourite one is also probably one of the oldest. This is Al Khazneh, otherwise known as The Treasury, in Petra, Jordan.

It was built in the first century AD and you can see it wasn’t so much as built, as carved out of the beautiful rose-red sandstone that comprise the rock faces and canyons of this area. It was originally built as a mausoleum and the inside is basically a series of doors and very plain hollowed out rooms, in contrast to the beautifully detailed exterior.

The building was named ‘The Treasury’ by  local people after legends told of treasure kept in the urn right at the top of the facade. The mythical treasure has been said to belong to the Pharaoh at the time of Moses, or a group of bandits and pirates. The urn has been shot at many times in the hope that the valuables may tumble out, but it has been proved that the carved urn is in fact solid sandstone and it is unlikely the treasure ever existed.

Many of the smaller details of the exterior carving has been eroded over time but the figures are fittingly supposed to be various figures from mythology associated with the afterlife.

We visited Petra as a family four years ago along with other places in Jorden, and it was one of our best family holidays ever. There are many other buildings to explore in the ancient city of Petra, but a lot of tour groups just come down the the Siq, look at the Treasury, and leave again. That’s why there are so many people in this photo. The rest of the ancient city is much less crowded and if you go all that way it seems a pity not to explore just that little bit further, so we spent the best part of a day there.

Deserted Petra

This post was written for this week’s Gallery theme of Buildings. Check out this week’s post over at Sticky Fingers

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