The Siq opens suddenly onto Petra's most famous monument, known locally as the Khazneh. This 130-foot-high structure displays a splendid frontage graced by a number of mythological figures adopted by the Nabateans from Greek and Roman worship. Castor and Pollux (who after their deaths became the two brightest stars in the constellation Gemini), Amazons, Gorgons, eagles, and other creatures march across the Khazneh's rosy facade. Between the columns of the tholos (the rounded section above the tympanum) are the remains of a female deity holding a cornucopia; she is believed to be al-Uzza, the patroness of Petra and the Nabatean version of Aphrodite, goddess of love.
The full Arabic name for this monument is Khazneh Fara'un, or Pharaoh's Treasury. It was assumed by archaeologists to be a royal tomb, and legends of treasures allegedly secreted within have drawn grave robbers to this place for centuries. The urn carved at the top of the tholos was thought to be the hiding place for the hoard. The Bedouin have been taking potshots at it for generations in the hopes of dislodging its contents, a practice whose results are still visible.
- Address: Petra
- Location: Petra
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