Hershel Shanks

The Treasury’s size and magnificent details dazzle the visitor who emerges from the Siq—the entrance to Petra. The facade of the two-story tomb is 92 feet wide and 130 feet to the top of the 11-foot-high urn which crowns its central portion. Six columns enclose the tholos, or central domed structure on top of which a Corinthian capital supports the urn. From the columned porch, a central doorway leads to the inner chamber; two other decorated doorways lead into small side rooms presumably used by priests. Arabs call this tomb Khaznat-el-Faroun, the Treasury of the Pharaoh, because an Arab legend relates that here, in this opulent building, Pharaoh deposited his gold.