Of the two similar structures in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra in southern Jordan, Al Khazneh and El Deir, the iconic “Treasury” featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is much more famous than the larger (and arguably more spectacular) “Monastery” deeper in the Nabatean archaeological site. So it’s no surprise that we’ve seen Al Khazneh depicted in LEGO many times over the years, with nary a Monastery in sight (or brick). Nevertheless, I appreciate each new LEGO Petra, like this one by Inthert built only from tan pieces.
What’s especially notable about this build is less its monochrome color scheme than the variety of interesting “illegal” techniques Inthert uses to achieve shapes and angles at this scale. LEGO’s internal design team follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure that official LEGO sets are study in the hands of grubby little hands, while adult builders and other LEGO fans have no such restrictions (so it’s rather amusing when commenters decry the use of such techniques in fan-built models — stop it). Specifically, many plates and tiles are half-attached to studs or wedged in with friction, while a number of the Technic pins used as columns are connected using the gaps that allow the pins to flex for clipping into place. But my favorite detail is the Technic gear atop the “roof” of the central section.
Be sure to click through to the full-size photo and expand it to take in all the interesting details and techniques.
As I wrote in introducing ArzLan’s LEGO Petra, I spent the summer of 1994 on an archaeological dig in Jordan, and visited Petra for one memorable weekend. Both Petra and Jordan as a whole remain one of the highlights of my life. Letranger Absurde has built a lovely microscale version of Al-Khazneh, the “Treasury” (actually an empty tomb), that greets each visitor to Petra as they emerge from the winding gorge called the Siq.
My one critique of this excellent LEGO model is that the sandstone geology of Petra is nearly as spectacular as the many structures carved into the rock face. Although building a detailed tomb using varying shades of tan and red might not have been achievable, plain brown LEGO for the surrounding rocks seems like a lost opportunity.
Al-Khazneh is, of course best known as the entrance to the fictional, trap-filled obstacle course leading to the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The facade is the most spectacular thing about the tomb — the interior is just an empty square chamber, though the acoustics are great for singing.
One of my dearest memories of the summer in 1994 that I spent working on an archaeological dig in Jordan was a weekend trip to Petra. We arrived from Amman late in the evening, but several of my fellow archaeology students couldn’t wait until morning to see the amazing structures carved from the sandstone 2000 years ago, so we snuck across wadi after wadi, avoiding the main paths. Once past the guard posts, we walked through the narrow gorge known as al-Siq — pitch black at night — until the passage opened in front of us to reveal Al Kazhneh, lit only by starlight.
ArzLan built his LEGO version of the Treasury for the Hong Kong Animation Festival, and features Indiana Jones in his Last Crusade visit to this UNESCO Heritage site.