As can be understood with the Indiana Jones scene in Petra, one of the many attractions of the Indiana Jones films lies precisely in their LocationsSteven Spielberg and his team carefully selected the filming locations for their visual impact, even though in Sara’s films they had a fictional man.
And that was the case of the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the third film in the saga, which is the one that brought the famous treasure hunter Indiana Jones played by Harrison Ford and his father, Professor Jones (Sean Connery) to Jordan.
In this film, father and son try to find the Holy Grail, i.e. the chalice used by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper, one of the most sought-after pieces of archaeology in history (although several institutions claim to have it), in a kind of modern version of the legends of King Arthur.
What do you see of Petra in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?
The search carried out by Indiana Jones and his father leads them to the Half Moon Canyon, which is the Siq or Petra Gorge . Their horseback ride, which they do with their mouths open because of the beauty and mysticism of the place, leads them to the Treasury or Al Khazneh.
The arrival scene is one of the most spectacular in the film. As can be seen here: if the story stands out for its rhythm and intrigue, at this point the tempo it stops to amplify the solemnity of the place: a construction excavated by the Nabataeans in the sandstone rock, probably in the first century B.C., declared, how could it not? World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Steven Spielberg, one of the most acclaimed film directors in history, revels in the majesty of space and takes numerous shots, both high and low angle, of the spectacular façade of the Treasury. And after these bars of admiration, Indiana Jones finally enters the secret temple.
What happens when Indiana Jones enters the Treasury?
Curiously, Steven Spielberg takes up the popular belief that there was a great treasure here since Nabataean times and places in this temple the mythical place where the Holy Grail is hidden. However, when Indiana Jones enters, what he sees inside is very different from what exists in reality.
Without wanting to spoil it (which is not the case), Indiana Jones accesses a vaulted chamber where he meets the Knight of the Grail, that is, a knight of the First Crusade who miraculously lives on because of the power granted to him by this holy relic.
On the other hand, as we tell in this other post, what is inside the Petra Treasure is a modest room without decoration or furniture, as it was stripped of all of it in successive periods. The only thing that exists is a door that gives access to another room, where offerings or relics were probably preserved.
Therefore, for the filming of this interior scene, Steven Spielberg used film studios that recreated the interior of an ideal and imagined temple, but that gave continuity to the story of the mythical search for Indiana Jones.
If you visit Petra today, you will discover that the atmosphere is different: the solitude that enveloped Jones Sr. and Jones Jr., as well as Sallah (their Egyptian friend) and Brody (an English colleague from Indiana) is now replaced by an ever-large presence of tourists. And although there is a horse service to tour some parts of the enclosure, it is no longer possible to ride this animal to the façade of the Treasury, for conservation reasons.