The Monastery

The great monument known as “The Monastery” was made in the ancient times. It is located in the high mountains of city Petra. It is 50 meters in width and 45 meters in height. A 10 meter high urn tops the building and it rests on an unusual self-supporting Nabataean “horned-capital”. The upper body of the monument is like a broken pediment with huge tomb. Though it is popularly known as “The Monastery”, contradicting its name, it is not a monastery. The dome and the pediments are linked by a continuous frieze.

Climbing up to reach Jordan’s largest Nabataean monument is a tough nut to crack as it takes almost 1000 steps to do so. The climbers and the determined visitors buy the water at a remarkably high price along the trail by the local tribesmen. The architecture of Ad Deir is an example of purest form of Nabataean classic style and is carved on a mountain, starting from top, preceding downwards, to lessen the erosion effects. Wooden logs were inserted after cutting slender holes into the rock. These were later on soaked in water, so that they can enlarge and split the rock. The final work however was done with the help of copper tools. Also, the exterior was made even and smooth by using sandstone blocks for rubbing.

The building was meant to be a temple. The interior of this monument is a solitary chamber of 15 meters high and 12.5 by 10 meters. In the building’s northwest direction, the visitors can find a cliff ledge that lets them enjoy a beautiful view of Wadi Araba along with its mineral wealth. And this does not an end in itself as on a clear day, the visitors can view the Sinai Peninsula also. One is required to scale up 1000 stairs in order to get to The Monastery. These stairs are cut into rock-face. However, if one does not wish to walk, then he can negotiate a donkey ride in the Ad-Deir Mountain. The path commences at Nabatean Museum and Basin Restaurant, and afternoon is the most favorable time to go for the walk; at this time, the sun, is not very hot and the area is shady and pleasant.

The Monastery is very similar to The Treasury in appearance; however it is double in size so it is an imposing and impressive building to see against the mountainous backdrop. If you wish to see The Monastery, it takes 1 hour to walk up for one way; however there are plenty of spots to rest, just take enough water with you, especially if you are visiting in summer.