cardo maximus


Temple of Dushares (Qasr al-bint Firaun- Palace of Pharaoh’s Daughter)

Petra, Jordan

~30 BCE

23 m. high

The monument was built in the Nabataean period. Most of the blocks are of yellow sandstone were transported from a quarry a few hundred meters downstream in the wadi es-Siyagh.

It was in fact the largest place of worship of the city, and consecrated to the god Dushares, and May also be to the goddess Al-Uzza.

After the Roman conquest , it was modified and adapted to the Roman gods, perhaps to Apollo, and maintained a central position in the city at the end of the main street (Cardo Maximus) and in the immediate vicinity of the main Roman temple and of the market.

The temple of Dushares also has the largest facade in Petra — 4 m wider than the Khazneh and the Great Temple. It belongs to the Parthian ‘flight’ type of temples with two staircases giving access to a flat roof. The central interaxial column spacing of this temple is around 8.00 m, a very impressive span, if one takes into consideration that the same span in the Artemis temple at Jerash is 'only’ 4.90 m, and in the Hercules temple in Amman it is 5.18 m. Each of the column drums of the temple must have weighed around 7 tons. The masonry, the craftsmanship and the ergonomics of its construction indicate that Qasr el-Bint was a very costly project. Wooden courses inside the masonry secured the elasticity of its walls.

In the bluescript:  (A) The Pronaos delimited by four columns in antis. It then reaches the barlong room of the cella (B) which consists of three adjoining rooms. The middle one © sheltered the beast of Dushara, represented by a rectangular stone, twice as high as it was wide on a golden base. This stone was destined to receive libations of blood from the little cattle or from the sacrificed camels.

The two lateral chapels (D) had a staircase (E) to reach the top of the temple. The presence of a higher terrace for outdoor religious ceremonies is not proved, however, even if Strabo mentions that the Nabataeans worshiped an altar on the top of the temple. The lateral chapels were to be rooms for the rest of the priests officiating or could be used for ritual banquets.