Al Khazneh ("The Treasury"; Arabic: الخزنة‎) is one of the most elaborate buildings in the ancient Jordanian city of Petra. As with most of the other buildings in this ancient town, including the Monastery (Arabic: Ad Deir), this structure was also carved out of a sandstone rock face. It has classical Greek-influenced architecture, and it is a popular tourist attraction.

History

It is unknown as to why Al Khazneh was originally built, probably between 100 BC and AD 200. Its Arabic name Treasury derives from one legend that bandits or pirates hid their loot in a stone urn high on the second level. Significant damage from bullets can be seen on the urn. Local lore attributes this to Bedouins, who are said to have shot at the urn in hopes of breaking it open and spilling out the "treasure" within (the decorative urn, however, is solid sandstone). Another is that it functioned as a treasury of the Egyptian Pharaoh of the time of Moses (Khaznet Far'oun).

Many of the building's architectural details have eroded away during the two thousand years since it was carved and sculpted from the cliff. The sculptures are thought to be those of various mythological figures associated with the afterlife.

There are burial chambers on either side of a ramp (not shown in the image to the right) which were excavated in 2003.

In popular culture

The Treasury has appeared in many Hollywood movies, gaining particular fame after being featured in climactic scenes in the popular 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which it is represented as the entrance to the final resting place of the Holy Grail near Hatay.

More recently, the Monastery (Arabic: Ad Deir), which is also located within Petra and often confused with The Treasury, appears in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) as the hidden Tomb of the Primes. In the film, the location of the structure was originally thought to have been in Egypt, but dialogue within the movie suggests it to be in modern-day Jordan.

Ancient Megastructures: Petra, a television series from National Geographic, is dedicated to the Khazneh, explaining how it was created through human resourcefullness and courageous endeavour.

The Treasury is also depicted in Hergé's The Red Sea Sharks, one of the adventures of Tintin, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Sky 1 Travel series, An Idiot Abroad, and the history series The Naked Archeologist.