Sunday, November 14, 2010

Postcard from Jordan

An old postcard from Jordan (during 70's)
Petra, the Monastery (El-Dair)

Giving the Treasury a run for its money as the most impressive monument at Petra is the Monastery (a.k.a. al-Deir or ad-Dayr in Arabic), which is about an hour's climb north of Petra's city center.

The Monastery is beautifully carved, though much less decorated than the Treasury, and so huge that even the doorway is several stories tall. Its name, like most Petra structures, does not reflect reality: it was probably a Nabatean temple.

Like the "Treasury," the name "Monastery" is a rather inaccurate nickname, which is probably based on its remote location and some inscribed crosses in the interior. Althought it may have been later used as a church (or even a hermitage), it was probably a temple. It may have been dedicated to the deified Nabatean king Obodas I, who reigned in the 1st century BC.

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