East wall of Qasr al-Bint
The best-preserved eastern wall of the Qasr al-Bint clearly shows the building's construction and layout. Its thick walls consist on the outside of large sandstone ashlars and a core of fieldstones consolidated with lime mortar. Probably as protection against earthquakes, wooden beams have been inserted in some places in the upper part of the walls.
Each of the four corners is reinforced by pilasters almost 2 m wide and 15 m high. The two on the façade side were decorated with square stucco panels, of which remains have been preserved. They were probably crowned by floral capitals.
About halfway up the walls, a stone bracket can be seen, in some places with holes at regular intervals above it. This is the support of the beams for the roof of a portico that used to be on the outer edges of the podium on which the temple was erected. The portico surrounded the massive structure on three sides and was probably intended for the processions that normally took place inside the Nabataean temples around the cult podium (mōtab) with the betyl on it. The columns of the colonnades were about 75 cm in diameter and 5.8 m high.
In the lower part of the walls, a series of regular rectangles is cut out, where large stones appear in the masonry. These are orthostats, upright stone slabs or ashlars common in buildings and tombs of antiquity. Because they were so explicitly highlighted at Qasr al-Bint by stucco frames in the portico used for processions, they probably had a ritual significance. Remains of the stucco decoration can be seen on the wall section above the orthostat area to the lower of the two stone consoles.
Light fell into the cella through the window opening in the upper part of the wall.
At the very top of the rear part of the structure, one of the two staircases leading from the side rooms of the cella to the temple roof can be seen (detailed photo above).
The elaborately decorated entablature is described on the next page.
© Photos, summary: Haupt & Binder, Universes in Universe
El templo principal de Petra es la estructura independiente mejor conservada de la antigua ciudad. Excelente ejemplo de la fusión de elementos grecorromanos y orientales en la arquitectura nabatea.