The Valley of the Moon
A timeless place, virtually untouched by humanity and its destructive forces. Here, it is the weather and winds that have carved the imposing, towering skyscrapers, so elegantly described by T.E. Lawrence as “vast, echoing and God-like…”
The desert 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 protected area
where is wadi rum?
Desert is a protected area covering 720 square kilometers of dramatic desert wilderness in the south of Jordan. Huge mountains of sandstone and granite emerge, sheer-sided, from wide sandy valleys to reach heights of 1700 meters and more.
Narrow canyons and fissures cut deep into the mountains and many conceal ancient rock drawings etched by the peoples of the desert over millennia. Bedouin tribes still live among the mountains of Rum and their large goat-hair tents are a special feature of the landscape.
A maze of monolithic rocks-capes in Jordan rise up from the desert floor to heights of 1,750 m creating a natural challenge for serious mountaineers.
Hikers can enjoy the tranquility of the boundless empty spaces and explore the canyons and water holes to discover 4000-year-old rock drawings and the many other spectacular treasures this vast wilderness holds in store.
Everywhere in this moonscape place of Rum, are indications of man’s presence since the earliest known times.
Scattered around are flint hand axes, while on the rocks at the feet of the mountains the names of ancient travelers are scratched. All around, there is emptiness and silence. In this immense space, man is dwarfed to insignificance.
what is wadi rum famous for
The desert Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabataeans–leaving their mark in the form of petroglyphs, inscriptions, and temple.
In the West, Rum may be best known for its connection with British officer T. E. Lawrence, who passed through several times during the Arab Revolt of 1917–18.
In the 1980s one of the rock formations in Desert, originally known as Jabal al-Mazmar (The Mountain of (the) Plague), was named “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” after Lawrence’s book (Download Seven Pillars of Wisdom T. E. Lawrence) penned in the aftermath of the war, though the ‘Seven Pillars’ referred to in the book have no connection with Rum.
Lawrence described his entrance into the Valley of Rum, “The hills on the right grew taller and sharper, a fair counterpart of the other side which straightened itself to one massive rampart of redness.
They drew together until only two miles divided them: and then, towering gradually till their parallel parapets must have been a thousand feet above us, ran forward in an avenue for miles.
The crags were capped in nests of domes, less hotly red than then body of the hill; rather grey and shallow. They gave the finishing semblance of Byzantine architecture to this irresistible place: this processional way greater than imagination.”
Lawrence also described his encounter with the spring, Ain Shalaaleh, “On the rock-bulge above were clear-cut Nabathaean inscriptions, and a sunk panel incised with a monogram or symbol.
Around and about were Arab scratches, including tribe-marks, some of which were witnesses of forgotten migrations: but my attention was only for the splashing of water in a crevice under the shadow of the overhanging rock. I looked in to see the spout, a little thinner than my wrist, jetting out firmly from a fissure in the roof, and falling with that clean sound into a shallow, frothing pool, behind the step which served as an entrance. Thick ferns and grasses of the finest green made it a paradise just five feet square.”
The discovery of the Nabataean Temple (located walking distance from the Rest House) in 1933 briefly returned the spotlight to the desert. A French team of archaeologists completed the excavations in 1997.