About Jordan » Wadi Rum

It has been said that "a tourist only sees what he came to see, but a traveler sees what he sees” also ”no journey carries one far unless it goes an equal distance into the world within us”.

For those travelers who come to the world of Wadi Rum, these notions take on even deeper meaning. If the desert sands can be compared with the sea, the jebals of Rum are its ships. And, such magnificent ships they are! Not just a few either! It is a very impressive regatta, spanning more than 720 square kilometers, forming an awe inspiring silent convoy bridging time itself in this intensely historic place.

Just to be there is to become part of it, as you soak in the serenity. The colorful surroundings and stillness in the air will engage each of your senses as your normal idea of space and time is obliterated by the sheer scale and magnitude of Wadi Rum’s extraordinary environment. Visitors are humbled and feel insignificant when standing near the towering sheer-sided red rock faces that appear to have simply risen up from the sand. The wide surreal open landscape beckons an open mind and provides a refuge from our mundane urban routines.

So liberating is the feeling , you might find yourself with a sudden urge to climb to the plateau where you can see the whole world, or go even higher in a hot air balloon. Perhaps a sand safari in a jeep or on the back of a horse or camel will sweep you away. Or, you may choose to simply relax in your quite Bedouin camp with a book and good friends. The wadis are filled with interesting native plants and unique wildlife and the stunning multi-colored sandstone and granite mountains are fun to scrabble around, where caves and natural arches can be explored. You can even follow the same ancient roads that have been traveled by Bedouins for thousands of years.

The night in Wadi Rum adds another dimension to your experience. An unforgettable sunset eventually gives way to a thick dome of stars that appear close enough to grab. And, your camp is all set for your comfort and enjoyment. Authentic Arab food cooked and served by a Bedouin chef accompanied with age old songs and traditional stories. As you immerse yourself in the new found culture you will learn first-hand how the Bedouin people earned their reputation for hospitality and friendliness. That’s when you will also understand why they say "The most important trip you take in life is meeting people halfway”.

Wadi Rum is one of the world’s most attractive and peaceful deserts. During 2005 the area was set aside as a natural reserve and a protected area. Wadi Rum contains a very unique combination of striking desert landscape, desert wildlife, archaeological richness and a still-remaining authentic Bedouin culture.

In Wadi Rum you will explore the dramatic landscape of granite and sandstone hills and valleys. The dramatic rock landscape displays an ever-changing colour palette of brilliant beiges, apricots, pinks, oranges and reds depending on the time of day and the season of the year. The magnificent sandstone mountains reach elevations over 1,700 metres and collect enough water to refill the springs situated along the contact line with the granite base.

With a sand floor on average 1,000 meters above sea level, the Wadi Rum area is cooler than the lower flat desert of eastern Jordan, the Red Sea coastline and the Jordan Rift Valley.

Juniper trees that can live up to 800 years, flourish at these high elevations. Wild palm trees, false fig trees, white broom trees and aromatic herbs can be found growing in abundance.

The numerous archaeological sites from earlier periods in time, suggest that Wadi Rum was heavily populated in the distant past. Human occupation appears to have extended from the upper Paleolithic period 17,000 BC all the way to the Byzantine and Islamic Periods, 4th-7th Century AD.

The Bedouin have inhabited the Wadi Rum region for thousands of years. Generations have maintained an unbroken history breeding camels, goats and sheep while living in tents or in caves. The tents are woven from goat, sheep or camel wool. The Bedouin moved their livestock seasonally in search of grazing areas and water. Although most Bedouin gave up their traditional nomadic lifestyle, they still remain mobile. They are people of oral expression and of traditions connected to their original nomadic lifestyle.

The British army officer and writer T.E.Lawrence made Wadi Rum famous among Westerners. He visited here on several occasions in 1916 and 1917. In1962 Wadi Rum provided the setting for David Lean 's film; Lawrence of Arabia starring Peter O’Toole.
In 2005, UNESCO granted world recognition to the Bedouin of Wadi Rum when it proclaimed their cultural space a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.


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