Wadi Rum

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Wadi Rum is a spectacularly scenic desert valley (wadi in Arabic) in southern Jordan.

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  • Monument Monument
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Points of Interest in Wadi Rum

  • Lawrence's house: Nobody is certain that this was Lawrence's house, although there are stories that he both stayed and/or stored weapons here. The current structure is built upon the remains of a Nabataean building, however, and it's another beautiful spot in the desert. The house itself is bunch of rubble, though, and not very impressive.
  • Lawrence's Spring: Just 2 km (1.2 miles) south-west of the village of Rum. The spring is at the top of a short scramble - head for the fig tree! Although the pool itself is largely unprepossessing, being a stagnant puddle, the views across the desert are truly spectacular.
  • The Nabataean Temple: Near the Rest House in Rum Village. The surrounding area is covered in Thamudic and Kufic rock art.
  • The Anfashieh Inscriptions: Not far from the red Sand Dune area this mountain has depictions of a camel caravan from the Nabatean and Thaumadic period.
  • Burdah Rock Bridge: On many tours you only view this from a distance, but it is possible to climb up to this rock bridge if you have a guide and a reasonable level of fitness.
  • Umm Fruth Rock Bridge: A lower rock bridge which is featured on many tours and can be easily scrambled onto.
  • Red Sand Dunes: There are various places in Wadi Rum where the white and red sands meet, but the most commonly visited is a dune sloping up alongside a jebel - a bit tough to climb up, great fun to run down! It can be difficult ascending those - use small steps.
  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom: Although most people can only count five, this is an impressive rock formation near the Visitor's centre. It is named after T E Lawrence's book - not the other way around!
  • Jebel Khaz'ali: This narrow canyon contains numerous Nabataean rock carvings of people and animals. Beautiful.

Rum Wonders Camp

Wadi Rum Visitor\'s Centre

Wadi Rum Handicraft Centre

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About Wadi Rum

Background

This area of Jordan is quite isolated and largely inhospitable to settled life. The only permanent inhabitants are several thousand Bedouin nomads and villagers. There is no real infrastructure, leaving the area quite unspoilt. Apart from the Bedouin goat hair tents, the only structures are a few concrete shops and houses and the fort headquarters of the Desert Patrol Corps.

T E Lawrence (of Arabia) spent a significant amount of time here during the course of the British-inspired Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War (1914-1918). Fans of the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia will be familiar with the landscape, which is not so much sand dunes as it is a mass of soaring cliffs and sandstone and granite mountains (jebel in Arabic).

Activities

The genuine attraction of Wadi Rum is the desert itself, best seen by four wheel drive or on camel. Some visitors only spend a few hours in the Wadi, but it's definitely worth taking a guided trip of several days duration, staying overnight in Bedouin camps in the desert.

The quality 4-wheel-drive tour depends on Bedouin driver who serves as a quide, but often do not have much knowledge and poor English. Therefore picking up a guide at the gate is a hit and miss affair and many of the best guides rely mainly on advance bookings. Many of the guides have websites, through which you can arrange your tour.

Climbing is another popular activity and a number of guides are also trained climbers.

The Distant Heat Festival is held every summer on the last Thursday of July which features trance and electronica music.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Wadi Rum on Wikivoyage.

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