The Great Temple is the largest freestanding building uncovered so far in Petra, covering an area of 7,560 sq m. It rises about 25 meters above the Colonnaded Street, the main street running through the ancient city center. Archaeological evidence indicates the temple itself rose 19 meters (57 feet) tall.
The complex consists of a Lower Temenos, accessed by steep staircases, and an Upper Temenos that contains the temple proper. The Lower Temenos is paved with hexagonal stones and was enclosed on the east and west side by astonishing triple colonnades that contained 96-120 total columns.
Each of the colonnades lead into a small apse or exedra. The West Exedra seems to have played an especially important role in the temple; it was reconstructed several times and was full of artifacts including coins, lamps and ceramics. The archaeologists were also surprised to discover a carving of an elephant, unique in Petra, on a capital adjoining the West Exedra. A large cistern was found behind the East Exedra.
The Upper Temenos consists of east and west walkways flanking the temple (or assembly hall) proper. The temple was fronted by a facade of four sandstone columns on limestone bases. In the center of this area is the puzzling odeon or theatron, a semi-circular place of assembly with five rows of seats.
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- Copyright: Aleksandar Dekanski (dekanski) (1053)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2010-10-12
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Sony CyberShot DSC H50
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/640 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2012-09-28 10:42