The great temple is a two-storey building which is supposed as the largest buildings among the Nabatean. It is located in Petra in Jordan. The temple was been constructed in the late first century BC. The site was discovered by the archeologists of Brown University in the year 1992. The archaeologists are still excavating the site.
The archeologists studied the fragments that were found at the site. After a careful study they came to a conclusion that the temple was been constructed in the late first century BC. Also it is believed that the temple was further developed in the early first century AD. The temple was in use up to the Byzantine period that is up to the fifth century.
As the name suggest the structure is understood as a temple model and most probably dedicated to Dushara who is the major divinity of Petra. The great temple is also assumed as a huge palace with an assembly hall as a small thetare as well as a bouleuterion is found within the complex. Written reports regarding the various assemblies that took place in Petra that took place during that particular period are being found.
The rubble as well as the huge amount of dust had hid the temple till 1992 when it was discovered. The excavation as well as the restoration work of the temple were started in 1993 and are going on even today.
What to See
The great temple is a freestanding building. It is supposed to be the largest freestanding building in Petra. The area covered by the great temple is around 7,560 sq.m. The height of the temple from the Colonnaded Street is about 25 m. The Colonnaded Street is the major street in the city also it runs through the primeval center of the city. An archaeological proof confirms that the height of the temple was around 57 feet tall.
The building of the temple comprises of a Lower Temenos. A staircase from the Lower Temenos connects it to the upper Temenos. It is believed that the temple was located on the upper Temenos. the Lower Temenos is cemented with huge stones which are hexagonal in shape. The west as well as the east side of the Lower Temenos is enclosed with the triple arcade. The number of columns in the arcade is around 96-120.
Each and every arcade shows you the way up to the small apse. The apse at the west has played a very significant role for the temple. The temple was reconstructed many times. Also the temple was filled with an artifact which includes lamps, coins as well as ceramics. The carved elephant which was found in the temple did surprise the archaeologists. At the back the East Exedra a huge container was found.
The east as well as the west walkways are located on the Upper Temenos do border the temple. Four columns made up of sandstone which are stood on the limestone base are erected in the front of the temple. In the center of the temple, an assembly is positioned. The assembly has 5 rows of seating arrangements and is semicircular in shape.
How to reach:
Sultan Ismail Petra Airport is located very near to the Great temple. The extra trip is easily accomplished with the help of various public transport choices that are easily available. You can hail a cab or can rent a car.
When to visit
The time from mid-January up to May is the best time to visit the Great temple.
The Great temple is open from sunrise to the sunset.