Jordan and its well-preserved prehistoric city of Petra go hand in hand; one can’t think of the former without the latter coming to mind. The remarkable Treasury, or al Khazneh, is located within the Jordan gem of Petra beside the scores of warm-hued sandstone. While the entire site is noteworthy for its dramatic temples, tombs and buildings carved out of rock by the ancient Nabateans, the Treasury holds its own at 131 feet (40 meters) tall.
Thought to have been built sometime in the first century B.C., the Treasury is one of Jordan’s most intricate temples (or perhaps tombs; no one knows which one it is for sure), with a design influenced by Greek architecture. At the entrance, visitors are greeted by statues of Castor and Pollux, Zeus’ mythological twins, who are believed to have spent half of their time in heaven and the other half in the underworld. Glance up and you’ll spy two enormous eagles symbolizing Dushara, a deity linked to Zeus and worshipped by the Nabateans. There is also an urn at the top, one believed to have once been filled with a Pharaoh’s treasure and covered in bullet marks said to have been from Bedouins wanting the urn for themselves. Peek inside the Treasury to see a chamber with attached rooms and uniquely rounded windows.
To reach the Treasury, visitors will first walk through the Siq, a narrow path flanked by Nabatean carvings, dwellings and shrines featuring smooth stone softened by the waters of Wadi Musa that once flowed through. Once through the Siq, you’ll enter the city of Petra near the Treasury. If the journey seems long, donkeys can be rented to make it easier. Entrance into Petra costs about $50 for one day, $78 for two days and $85 for three days. To truly feel like Indiana Jones (part of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed in Petra), purchase a fedora at the entrance to Petra and wear it while you explore.