Khirbet Tannour Temple

sights / Historic

Khirbet Tannour Temple information

Khirbet Tannour , Jordan
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The neglected ruins of the 2000-year-old Nabataean temple of Khirbet Tannour are worth the hike up the hill for the view, if nothing else. A famous statue of Nike was found here, a copy of which is housed in Amman’s National Archaeological Museum; the original is in Cincinnati. A statue of the goddess Atargatis (currently in Amman’s National Archaeological Museum) was also unearthed from this auspicious little hilltop.

In truth there’s not much to see here except for column bases and the outlines of a temple courtyard with adjoining rooms. Despite this, most people will relish the windswept site and epic location. In fact the term ‘most people’ is misleading: there is the strong suggestion among the scampering lizards and the desert larks that no one ever comes up here – except a conscientious travel writer or two. Even the dogs herding sheep along the fertile wadi to the south keep their distance, running in contours around the lower hills.

The turn-off to the ruins is 36km south of Karak town, at the crest of the hill – a dam is clearly visible at the bottom. It is marked as ‘AT TA NO I QUI ES SI’, which isn’t a Latin inscription but a weather-beaten version of ‘At-Tannour Antiquities Site’. The 1.5km access road is potholed, but you can park off the track quite easily. Walk up to the communication tower and the path up the hill becomes obvious.