My dear travellers and lovers of unique trips, I hope you are well and ready to continue our adventure in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Today I have a special story about Wadi Rum, Jordan’s famous thee moon desert princess.
For all my dear travellers and fashionistas who didn’t get to read my previous travelogues and fashion stories from Jordan on the Mr.M blog or want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following links:
- The story about Amman and Jerash (travelogue)
- The story of Petra (travelogue)
- The story from Wadi Rum with Fratelli Rossetti (fashion story)
- The Fashionable Royal Blue adventure in Aqaba (fashion story)
Today I will share with you my adventure in Wadi Rum and I would like to thank the Visit Jordan for the kind invitation and the amazing experience to get to know Jordanian culture and customs.
Wadi Rum is a natural tourist attraction, a valley located in southern Jordan. Why did it get the famous nickname Moon Valley? This epithet derives from the similarity of the Wadi Rum relief terrain to that of the Moon. In 2011, UNESCO included the Wadi Rum Protectorate in the World Natural Heritage List, and in 2019, the International Astronomical Union announced at a global press conference the naming of the star (VASP-80) as “Petra” and the name of the planet orbiting it as Wadi Rum.
Wadi Rum is a desert of varied terrain with a desert climate and is located within the boundaries of the Hismi Desert, one of the most beautiful deserts in the world. Its rocky mountains are characterised by white, yellow, red and brown colours, as well as characteristic geographical formations. Wadi Rum contains a group of narrow valleys, natural arches, steep cliffs and steep roads, as well as large piles of collapsed rocks, numerous caves and thousands of carvings and inscriptions. It also includes the highest mountain peaks of the southern Levant, namely: Jabal Umm al-Dami and Jabal Rum.
The Wadi Rum desert is home to some desert plants and an exotic group of small birds such as the desert lark, in addition to reptiles and numerous small mammals. Also here you can see numerous migratory birds that travel between Africa and Eastern Europe, especially birds of prey, which can be seen in large numbers in just one day.
One of the interesting things is that many films were shot in Wadi Rum, such as “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Al-Muraikhi”, because the valley attracted filmmakers, especially science fiction films that take place on Mars due to the great similarity between the terrain of Wadi Rum Ruma and the planet Mars. Today, Wadi Rum is one of the most visited tourist areas in Jordan.
Tourism has supported the development of agriculture and urban life in the region, and tourists can engage in many activities such as hiking, hot air balloon rides, horse and camel excursions or four-wheel drive, and a camel race is held every year, which is the first event of its kind in Jordan. In addition, Wadi Rum is considered one of the best places in Jordan for star and galaxy gazing, as well as meteor shower viewing.
The mystery about the name of this desert, as well as the real reason why Wadi Rum was called by this name is still unknown. There is a belief that the name “Rum” was taken from the Koran. Many today believe from an old legend that Wadi Rum was called “Aram” or “Iram” in ancient times, which means shapes and designs on stones (such as inscriptions). While some historians have mentioned that the region got its name from the leader of the Assyrians, who invaded the southern region of the Levant in the eighth century BC.
By examining certain writings, scientists have come to the knowledge that Wadi Rum was inhabited several thousand years ago and that these people struggled to survive in the harsh environment. These people were hunters, shepherds, farmers and traders. The Nabateans also once inhabited the area of Wadi Rum, leaving behind many monuments and inscriptions, including a temple known today as the “Nabatean Temple”.
Research and found inscriptions indicate that the first human settlement in Wadi Rum dates back to the Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, and that the area was full of springs, a temperate climate and abundant groundwater. Many civilizations and nations have thrived in Wadi Rum due to its prominent geographical location between the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant, such as the Edomites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Nabateans and others.
Perhaps the Roman historian Ptolemy first mentioned Wadi Rum, which he named (Aramoa) in his list of cities located in Arabia Felix, indicating that the valley was part of a regional trade network. Archaeologists have largely considered the isolated site to be connected to the Nabatean economic centers of Petra and Isla. In the 1990s, two scientists from the University of Victoria led a project to survey the valley and restore its antiquities, and studies revealed the existence of a palace complex and a bath complex belonging to the Nabateans located on a small hill next to the eastern side of Jebel Rum. Scientists have hypothesized that the complex complex of villas built in this arid environment was built to impress travellers passing through the area.
The inhabitants of the valley joined the forces of the Great Arab Revolt led by King Faisal and fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia during the Great Arab Revolt of 1916 against the Turkish and German armies. Perhaps the credit for the fame of Wadi Rum belongs to Lawrence of Arabia, who crossed it several times during the war and then settled there. The Mountain of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom is located in Wadi Rum.
All the inhabitants living in and around Wadi Rum today are Bedouin, and until recently they lived a Bedouin life, relying on raising their own goats and camels. Although some of them live in modern cement houses today, they still maintain Bedouin customs and Arab dress traditions. Knitting goat hair tents all summer. They are hospitable people and are largely responsible for the development of Wadi Rum as a tourist destination, and many tourists find that sharing food or drinking coffee with the Bedouins is one of the best memories of their lives.
Visitors to Wadi Rum usually have the opportunity to see very few animals as most desert creatures are active at night and avoid sunlight during the day. The number of these animals has decreased dramatically over time, but there are still a large number of interesting birds, insects, reptiles and some desert plants.
Trees are rare in Wadi Rum, except for the acacia trees, which are characterized by flat tops and scattered thorny branches. A small number of low, woody shrubs spread across the desert. These plants are an important source of food for goats and camels, especially in the summer months when all other succulent desert plants are drying up. In Wadi Rum, certain types of plants grow in nature that are adapted to the harsh climatic conditions of the desert areas, such as al-Mughira, al-Rumm, al-Ghadi, al-Tarfa and al-Baitran trees.
Tourism activity in Wadi Rum began in 1984, when a British climbing team led by Tony Howard requested permission from the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism to explore the possibilities of hiking in Wadi Rum and its surroundings. The attempt succeeded with the help of the Bedouins and the support of the ministry. Since then, Bedouins belonging to the prominent Al-Huwaitat tribe in the area have collaborated to organize tourism, investing the proceeds in building houses and schools and buying buses to connect the area with the cities of Aqaba and Wadi Musa. In the mid-90s, there was a boom in tourism that is still active today.
Wadi Rum is full of tourist camps that replace hotels, because it is a nature reserve where hotels are not allowed. Tourism promotion of this area began in the late eighties, after a movie (Lawrence of Arabia) was shot there in the sixties. Today, tourism has become a source of income for many residents who work in it as guides or other jobs.
The Jordanian Ministry of Tourism counts Wadi Rum as part of the Golden Tourism Triangle, which includes Wadi Rum, Petra and Aqaba. Tourist activities in this area include camping and trips between the mountains on horses and camels or using four-wheel vehicles, and hiking is also practiced there. The visitor can spend the night in camps that provide food and other services. When you come to Wadi Rum, you have the opportunity to enjoy countless possibilities and to experience a different way of life at least for a moment.
Some of the activities: hiking, watching camel races, hot air balloon rides, star gazing, 4 wheel drive motorbikes, camel and horse riding and enjoying local Bedouin cuisine.
My dear travellers, we have come to the end of this third special travelogue from the Kingdom of Jordan about the moon desert princess Wadi Rum, which would not have been possible without help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and the beauty of Jordanian culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.
Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.
I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.
How did you like my story about Wadi Rum? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?
If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!
With love from Wadi Rum,
This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.