Hershel Shanks

The Monastery (Ed-Deir) is the largest monument at Petra. Carved in deep relief from the shoulder of a sandstone mountain, the tomb’s facade is 140 feet high and 107 feet wide. Through the huge 30 foot high doorway, light enters and illuminates one large plain room inside. The second story, decorated with six columns and two pillars, bears a pediment separated in the center by a domed structure called a tholos. On top of the tholos rests a 20 foot high urn upon a Nabataean capital. Although it was never a monastery, the Nabataean tomb was reused by early Christians as a chapel. The signs of this later use caused local people to give it the Arabic name it bears today.