Wadi Rum, which is also known as The Valley of the Moon is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60 kilometres east of Aqaba; it is the largest wadi in Jordan. The name Rum most likely comes from an Aramaic root meaning ‘high’ or ‘elevated’. Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures, including the Nabateans, leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples. In the West, Wadi Rum may be best known for its connection with British officer T. E. Lawrence, who based his operations here during the Arab Revolt of 1917–18. In the 1980s one of the rock formations in Wadi Rum was named “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” after Lawrence’s book penned in the aftermath of the war, though the ‘Seven Pillars’ referred to in the book have no connection with Wadi Rum. The area is centred on the main valley of Wadi Rum. The highest elevation in Wadi Rum is Mount Um Dami at 1,840 metres high and was first located by Difallah Ateeg, a Zalabia Bedouin from Rum. On a clear day, it is possible to see the Red Sea and the Saudi border from the summit of Mount Um dami. Jabal Rum 1,734 metres above sea level is the second highest peak in Jordan and the highest peak in the central Rum, covered with snow and rising directly above Rum valley opposite Jebel um Ishrin, which is possibly one metre lower. Khaz’ali Canyon in Wadi Rum is the site of petroglyphs etched into the cave walls depicting humans and antelopes dating back to the Thamudic times. The village of Wadi Rum itself consists of several hundred Bedouin inhabitants with their goat-hair tents and concrete houses and also their four wheel vehicles, one school for boys and one for girls, a few shops, and the headquarters of the Desert Patrol.Wadi Rum is home to the Zalabia Bedouin who, working with climbers and trekkers, have made a success of developing eco-adventure tourism, now their main source of income. The area is now one of Jordan’s important tourist destinations, and attracts an increasing number of foreign tourists, particularly trekkers and climbers, but also for camel and horse safari or simply day-trippers from Aqaba or Petra. Popular activities in the desert environment include camping under the stars, riding Arab horses, hiking and rock-climbing among the massive rock formations. The area has been used as a background setting in a number of films including; Lawrence of Arabia – David Lean filmed much of this 1962 film on location in Wadi Rum and the Red Planet – Wadi Rum was used as the surface of Mars in this 2000 film.
Photograph taken with Nikon D100 & 70-200mm lens at 80mm on 4th May 2008