This is one of the main questions that assail any visitor: Can you enter the Treasury of Petra? In the following lines, we answer this, as well as explain what’s inside and other interesting details about this monument, which is undoubtedly the most photographed of this Nabatean city and possibly of the entire country.
Can you enter the Treasury of Petra?
No, you cannot enter the Treasury of Petra. Its access to tourists in general is prohibited. Therefore, the visitor who arrives here after walking the Siq can only admire its facade from the outside, from the large space that opens up in the rocky canyon and acts as a square.
Although now you cannot enter the Treasury of Petra, before you could. For this reason, many veteran travelers have photos of this inner space. However, the Jordanian authorities decided to prohibit access for conservation reasons: the footsteps, scrapes, and blows from the thousands of tourists who visit it daily caused considerable deterioration, which this sandstone was not used to in its origin, since from the beginning it was conceived as a silent and restful space (keep in mind that this construction probably arose as the funeral enclosure of the Nabatean king Aretas III).
What’s inside the Treasury of Petra?
Although you cannot enter the Treasury of Petra, you should not lament excessively: inside there is practically nothing. It is a diaphanous but dark space, without lighting or decoration or furniture. This room only contains several doors with small steps that lead to other rooms where offerings or other religious objects were probably kept.
The most interesting thing about this space may be the natural design of the sandstone, which offers some suggestive curvilinear lines that seem to acquire movement when contemplating them. However, the walls lack reliefs or mural paintings, as is the case in other monuments in the country. Undoubtedly, the Nabatean builders preferred to focus all their efforts on the exterior, carving a spectacular facade… which has no equivalent in the interior room.
Can you enter other monuments of Petra?
Like the Treasury, access to other Petra monuments is restricted. However, visitors can enter the building considered the ‘twin’ of the Treasury: the Monastery Al Deir (or Ad Deir). Located at one end of the Nabatean city and at the top of a steep climb with more than 700 steps, its remoteness makes it less visited and its entrance is permitted.
Like in the Treasury, the interior has hardly noteworthy elements: upon entering through the main entrance, you arrive at a diaphanous room illuminated only with the natural light that enters through that door. Precisely carved, the gaze quickly rests on a kind of elevated altar, which is reached after climbing a few steps. But no trace of reliefs or elaborated paintings with a decorative sense, except for some inscriptions as graffiti or historical engravings.
In fact, what we know today as Monastery Al Deir gets this name because the Bedouins believed it was a Christian temple, given that some of these inscriptions are crosses from the Bedouin era. However, it is most likely that it was some kind of preceding place of worship, and that it later received other religious or funerary uses.
As you see, you cannot enter the Treasury of Petra but you can enter other places. So nothing is better than traveling here to contemplate all its beauty with your own eyes. Our agency will take care of organizing your tour.