The impressive “Treasury” is the first building to greet visitors walking through the Siq. Tucked away from the most direct effects of wind and rain, the Nabatean tomb monument has been well preserved for the last two thousand years.
The first Westerner to visit Petra in modern times was Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Before his visit, he converted to Islam and spent several years living in Syria learning the language. He was only able to enter the site by feigning desire to sacrifice at Aaron’s tomb (1812). He died only a few years later (1817), but his writings were published posthumously (1822). Travels in Syria and the Holy Land describes his visit to Petra and how he hid his notes by sewing them into his clothes. The book is now available for free download at Google Books. A reprint is $40 at Amazon.
The top photo is one of more than 100 photos of Petra included in the Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan volume of The American Colony and Eric Matson Collection (Library of Congress, LC-matpc-04477).