The Kazneh of Petra in the 1940s

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. 

Petra, Kazneh, mat04477

Date of photograph: between 1940 and 1946
Since that time, the site has been developed and restorations have been made.  The Treasury became well-known in Western culture with the release of the third Indiana Jones movie in 1989.


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).


2 thoughts on “The Kazneh of Petra in the 1940s

  1. Have been blessed to have taken
    two fabulous tours to Israel in
    the last four years, and across
    to Petra, Jordan on the last tour!

    This site is very informative
    and the photography is excellent!


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