Tucked in the hills of Petra, the Monastery (Al-Deir) is only matched in magnificence by the Treasury. Built during the first century, the structure carved into the mountain was not a monastery at all, but rather served as either a tomb or a temple for members of the cult of Obodas. While less ornate than the Treasury, the Monastery is significantly larger, measuring 148 feet high and 165 feet across.
An uphill but relatively easy trail leads from the Nabataean Museum to the Monastery, ascending a set of some 800 ancient rock-cut steps along the way. As an alternative to the 40-minute walk, visitors can hire a donkey and guide to carry them to the top. Either way, those who make it to the Monastery are greeted with panoramic views over the surrounding hills and gorges.
Plan your visit for mid-afternoon, when you’ll find shade along the path and around the Monastery, and the light will be at its best for photographs of the impressive facade.