ad-Deir (Monastery)

Petra, Jordan

The great facade of the Deir measures 47m x 48m (155' x 158'), dwarfing two people seen in this photo just below the entrance. Located high in the mountains to the northwest of the city, the Deir is thought to have been carved in the mid-first century AD (Taylor, p. 98). Contrary to its name, the Deir is not a monastery (nor does it seem to be a tomb, unlike the other monumental facades of Petra). A nearby inscription seems to connect the Deir to the cult of Obodas I (96-86 BC), even though that king lived 150 years before the building was constructed (Blue Guide, p. 192).

The Deir's facade is comparable to the Khazneh; in each building, the upper story is designed as a broken pediment, interrupted by a tholos that is topped by a large urn. However, the plain (though impressive) facade of the Deir lacks the fine detailing that is found on the face of the Khazneh.