First approached by way of a deep, narrow gorge known as the Siq, the Treasury (al-Khazneh) is one of the most dramatic and iconic monuments in the ancient city of Petra. At 131 feet (40 meters) tall, this towering ancient tomb has lost none of its power since Nabatean times.
The Treasury is perhaps the most instantly recognizable attraction in the ancient city of Petra, carved from red desert sandstone more than 2,000 years ago by a lost civilization known as the Nabateans. Despite the name, the Treasury (al-Khazneh in Arabic) was, most likely, a mausoleum, not a storehouse: The twin statues on its front are the Greek demigods Castor and Pollux. Movie fans will recognize it as the place where Indiana Jones did battle for the holy grail in the classic adventure movie.
Set in the lower levels of the city, the Treasury is an essential stop on almost all Petra tours. Tickets are required to access the site. Compared to the 1-day entrance tickets, 2-day and 3-day tickets are excellent value and allow you to explore other areas of the city. Both day and night tours of Petra are available, some of which include horse rides or camel rides.
Things to Know Before You Go
- One of the new seven wonders of the world, Petra is a must for first-time visitors and history lovers.
- Approach through the Siq: The Treasury slowly coming into view through the narrow canyon is one of travel’s great sights.
- If you’re visiting without a guide, expect to be pestered by aspiring guides and donkey boys.
How to Get There
Petra sits just below the tourist town of Wadi Musa, which has minibus connections to both Amman and Aqaba. Taxis are available if you’d prefer not to walk the couple of miles to the site. There’s ample accommodation in Wadi Musa for those who want to take a deep dive into Petra, and full-day tours of the ancient site are available from both Amman and Aqaba.
When to Get There
Summer temperatures of 100°F (38°C) are not uncommon in Jordan, while December and January can be colder than you’d expect of the Middle East. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant seasons to visit. If exploring Petra in summer, aim to arrive early in the day to beat the midday heat: The site opens at 6am.
Indiana Jones at Petra
In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Harrison Ford gallops down the Siq canyon to the Treasury in a dramatic chase. Horses are available for hire if you’d like to attempt a slower-paced re-creation, and fedoras are on sale at the entrance. For cinematic views of the Treasury, seek out the steep path that starts just beyond the Royal Tombs.