After seeing the magnificence of Petra, we didn’t think there would be any other place in Jordan that would enthrall us. But Wadi Rum proved us wrong. A series of valley with a maze of monolithic rockscapes dramatically rising up from the golden desert floor, T.E. Lawrence described Wadi Rum as “vast, echoing and God-like.” And like him, it cast a spell on us.
This massive cliff was named “The Pillars of Seven Wisdom” after the title of the book by T.E. Lawrence, the legendary British Army Officer who based his operation here to help the Arabs in their revolt against the Ottoman Empire during WW I.
His adoption of Arab custom and dress earned him the name “Lawrence of Arabia,” which was also the title of the 1962 movie based on his life. (A large part of the movie was shot here.)
“Our little caravan fell quiet, afraid and ashamed to flaunt its smallness in the presence of the stupendous hills.” – T.E. Lawrence
“The crags were capped in nests of domes, less hotly red than the body of the hill….They gave the finishing semblance of Byzantine architecture to this irresistible place: this processional way greater than imagination.” – T.E. Lawrence
The petroglyphs in Wadi Rum are Thamudic writing from as early as 4th century B.C. Wadi Rum was an important stop along the main caravan trading route due to availiability of water. The inscriptions that mostly look like drawings of animals and people were messages left by passing traders for fellow traders.
The inscriptions translate into names of people who passed by, instructions, and indications of where water sources were located. (It must be the closest thing to e-mail or text message at that time.)
“No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry.. the imprint of the desert… and he will have within him the yearning to return…. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.’” T.E. Lawrence
We yearn to return…
• Wadi Rum is about two hours drive south of Petra and about four hours drive south of Amman.
• The desert trek can be arranged in advance through a tour company or upon your arrival at the visitor center.
• Admission is JD5=US$7 per person.
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