Wadi Rum an UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wadi Rum an UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wadi Rum

Wadi rum spreads over 74,000- hectares, with a mix of natural and cultural sites, situated in the south of Jordan close to the Saudi Arabian border.

Geologists think that this Wadi (the Arabic word for "valley") resulted from a great crack in the earth's surface which was caused by an enormous upheaval that shattered mammoth pieces of granite and sandstone ridges from the mountains of the Afro-Arabian shield. These ridges can reach up to the height of 1000 feet with smooth domes topping them, worn out by the desert winds.

This magnificent natural work of art is a UNESCO world heritage site, with inscriptions and archaeological remains that testify to 12,000 years of human occupation and interaction with the natural environment, as you have the combination of 25,000 rock carvings with 20,000 inscriptions that trace the evolution of human thought and early development of the alphabet.

Wadi Rum is also known as The Valley of the Moon. The name Rum is thought to come from Aramaic root meaning 'high' or 'elevated'. It has been inhabited by different cultures since prehistoric times. The Nabateans left their mark on rocks with temples, graffiti and paintings. The fresh water springs found there made Rum a meeting centre for caravans heading toward Syrian and Palestine.

Resent excavations in the south have uncovered a Caleolithic settlement dating from 4500 BC. On a hill at the foot of Jabal Rum, lies the Allat temple which was originally built by the Ad tribe and was remodelled by the Nabateans in the first century BC.

As Rum is an important tourist site, it is also an important site in the history of the Arab revolution, as it was the headquarters of Prince Faisal bin Al-Hussein and T.E Lawrence during World War One to fight for the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire. This enigmatic British officer has become a legendary figure for his role in the fight for the Arab cause, and he made this magical place his home from 1917 till 1918.

In the 1980s one of the rock formations in Wadi Rum was named "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" in memory of his book. He says in his book: " All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did."

Most of the movie “Lawrence of Arabia" was shot there and a number of other movies as well like:

Red Planet - Wadi Rum was used as the surface of Mars in this 2000 film.
Passion in the Desert - The area was also used for scenes in this 1998 film.
The Face - BBC Film, Rock climbing in Rum
Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen - Represented as being in Egypt
The Frankincense Trail - scenes from train, and aerial filming too.


Travel tip shared by Larissa Qat