About Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum is admired and loved for the spectacular beauty of its desert and rock formations, its narrow canyons and rock bridges. Sandstone and granite mountains tower about 700m over the desert plain which, although called a valley, is itself nearly 1000m above sea level. Jebel Rum, the second highest mountain in Jordan, is 1754m above sea level, and many other mountains in the area are almost as high.
The government of Jordan declared 720 square kilometres of the Wadi Rum desert a protected area in 1998, set up by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, and under the control of the Aqaba municipal authority. Recently Wadi Rum became a UNESCO world heritage site. There is a balance between the vibrant tourist industry which enables visitors from all over the world to share the wonders of Wadi Rum, and the necessity of protecting the wildlife and natural formations unique to this special place.
People have visited and lived in the desert of Wadi Rum since pre-historic times. The earliest settlements were from about 4500 years B.C. As shown by the rock drawings in the area, Thamudic and Nabatean people have lived here in the past, and for centuries now Bedouin people have lived in the area. Wadi Rum was a place to stay for prople travelling on the trade routes for thousands of years, and provided water and grazing for animals. In recent decades the Bedouin people have built homes in Wadi Rum village.
Wadi Rum village
From its origins as the Desert Patrol post, the village has grown over the last half century, especailly when a film crew moved into the area to film Lawrence of Arabia in 1961, under the dierction of David Lean. The worldwide fame of the film brought the majesty of the Wadi Rum desert landscape before people all over the world and many came to visit. These days about 1,500 Bedouin people live in Wadi Rum village, and most have family members living in the desert looking after their animals. Bedouin living in the village work in the tourism industry, as tour operators and guides for the visitors.
"No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match" T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) - The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Easy Walks near Wadi Rum village
Ruins of a Nabataean temple are a short walk of about 15 minutes towards the west from the Wadi Rum Rest House. There is another short walk towards the southwest from the Rest House where there is a track that climbs up the side of Jebel Rum to a spring. This walk gives great views over Wadi Rum village.
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