All About Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum, Jordan
 
A journey to Wadi Rum is a journey to another world. A vast, silent place, timeless and starkly beautiful.. Wadi Rum is one of Jordan's main tourist attractions being the most stunning desertscape in the World, lying 320 km southwest of Amman, 120 km south of Petra, and only 68 km north of Aqaba.
Uniquely shaped massive mountains rise vertically out of the pink desert sand, which separate one dark mass from another in a magnificent desert scenery of strange breathtaking beauty, with towering cliffs of weathered stone.. The faces of the sheer rock cliffs have been eroded by the wind into faces of men, animals and monsters.
 
Wadi Rum is probably best known because of its connection with the enigmatic British officer T.E. Lawrence, who was based here during the Great Arab Revolt of 1917-18, and as the setting for the film that carried his name "Lawrence of Arabia".
A journey to Wadi Rum is a journey to another world. A vast, silent place, timeless and starkly beautiful.. Wadi Rum is one of Jordan's main tourist attractions being the most stunning desertscape in the World, lying 320 km southwest of Amman, 120 km south of Petra, and only 68 km north of Aqaba.
Uniquely shaped massive mountains rise vertically out of the pink desert sand, which separate one dark mass from another in a magnificent desert scenery of strange breathtaking beauty, with towering cliffs of weathered stone.. The faces of the sheer rock cliffs have been eroded by the wind into faces of men, animals and monsters.
 
Wadi Rum is probably best known because of its connection with the enigmatic British officer T.E. Lawrence, who was based here during the Great Arab Revolt of 1917-18, and as the setting for the film that carried his name "Lawrence of Arabia".
 
 
 
Wadi Rum History
 
Geologists think that this Wadi (the Arabic word for "valley") resulted from a great crack in the surface of the earth caused by an enormous upheaval, which shattered mammoth pieces of granite, and sandstone ridges from the mountains of the Afro-Arabian shield. Some of the ridges are a 1000 feet high and topped with domes worn smooth by the desert winds.
 
The Massive Mountains of Wadi Rum
Everywhere, in this timeless and empty place, are indications of man's presence since the earliest known times. Archaeologists are certain that the Wadi Rum area was inhabited in the Prehistoric periods, mainly the Neolithic period between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, and was known as Wadi Iram. Fresh water springs made Rum a meeting center for caravans heading towards Syria and Palestine from Arabia.

 
Neolithic flints, Iron Age pottery and Minaean graffiti indicate settlement of the area prior to the Nabataeans. Before Islam, it served as the gathering place for the tribes of Ad, Thamud, Lihyan and Main. The Nabataeans, however, surpassed those early tribes in trade activities and monumental achievements.
 
Recent 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 originally built by the Ad tribe and remodeled by the Nabataeans in the 1st century BC.
 
Thamudic Inscriptions at Wadi RumA small village to the northwest of the temple was founded by the Nabataeans including a bath complex. Thamudic inscriptions, at the foot of the cliffs on both sides of the main Wadi, can be found in ancient stone constructions. These inscriptions on the temple confirm the pre-Islamic involvement of the Arabian tribes in the construction of the sanctuary. The temple was taken over by Thamudic tribes and Thamudic graffiti covers earlier Nabataean inscriptions, walls and columns.
 
Approximately 8.5 kms east of Wadi Rum, at Disi, an Italian excavation uncovered an early Nabataean site, which was occupied before the Nabataeans moved to the rose-red city of Petra. Throughout the valley, are scattered slabs of rocks with inscriptions in early Thamudic writing, recording the names of travelers who passed through centuries ago.
Wadi Rum was the headquarters of Prince Feisal bin Al-Hussein and T.E. Lawrence during World War I, to fight for the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Lawrence became a legendary figure for his key role in the fight for the Arab cause. He made his home in this magical area. Ain Asshallaleh, also known as Lawrence's Spring is just a short walk up the hillside from the Nabataean temple. The mountain aptly known as the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, was named by T.E. Lawrence, and was the inspiration for the title of his book of the same name.
 
 
 
 
 
Wadi Rum Culture
 
The desert tribes, Huweitat and Mzanah, inhabiting Wadi Rum maintain the warm hospitality which characterizes genuine Arab culture. It would be difficult to resist their friendly invitation to share mint tea or cardamom-flavored coffee in their black tents. Enjoy the hospitality whilst sitting by th

e fire under a starry desert sky - an unforgettable experience.
 
The Desert Patrol of Wadi Rum
Before reaching Wadi Rum, visitors will encounter the fort of the Wadi Rum Desert Patrol. The patrolmen are friendly, hospitable and will answer questions willingly over a cup of coffee.
Perfect ambassadors for their country, the men of the famous Desert Patrol wear perhaps the most beautiful uniforms in the Middle East: a long khaki dish-dash held by a bright red bandoleer, a holster with a dagger around the waist, and rifle slung over the back. The headdress is the traditional red-and-white checkered Kouffieh worn by the Bedouins of Jordan, but wrapped under the chin. The Desert Patrol operates out of an old beau guest-style police fort built in the 1930s.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Flora and Fauna, Wadi Rum

 

Wadi Rum is a protected environment. Rare species of animals, small plants, and herbs can be found by the inquisitive traveler. Red anemones, poppies and the striking black iris, Jordan's national flower, all grow at will by the roadside and in more quiet reaches. Herbal medicinal cures used for centuries by the Bedouins are found in the mountainous regions.

Wadi Rum is also a bird-watchers' haven with its 110 recorded species. Vultures, buzzards, eagles and sparrows are a few to be seen by those looking skyward. Other interesting creatures to be found include the camel-spider, feared by local Bedouins for its ability to harm camels, however this spider is not dangerous to man.

 

Seen gracefully in its natural habitat, the Ibex, mountain goat, is often spotted in the desert terrain. Another interesting animals are the Gray Wolf, Blandford's Fox, and the Arabian Sand Cat which is similar in appearance to a domesticated cat and survives in its harsh desert surroundings.

 

 

 

Weather and Clothing - Wadi Rum

 

Temperature in Wadi Rum ranges from an average of 32°C (89.6 F) in the daytime to a minimum of 1°C (33.8 F) in the evening. Ideal months to visit are March, April, September, October and November. Wadi Rum receives its annual rainfall in the winter months. It has also been known to snow in the mountains, yet snow quickly melts.

 

Camel Riding at Wadi Rum

Protective clothing should be worn in the summer. Sun block, water and cool covering clothing should be used in the summer months. Conservative clothing should be worn at all times, for respect of the traditional Bedouin culture. A Bedouin Kouffieh is recommended for protection from the sun and sand. This can be purchased at the rest house or in the village.