The History of Wadi Rum

Camel riding Wadi Rum

UNESCO inscribed Wadi Rum a new World Heritage Site,

With 25,000 rock carvings, 20,000 inscriptions, and archaeological remains in the site, testify to 12,000 years of human occupation and interaction with the natural environment that traces the evolution of human thought and the early development of the alphabet

Everywhere in this moonscape place are indications of man's presence since the earliest known times. Scattered around are flint hand axes, while on the rocks at the feet of the mountains the names of ancient travelers are scratched. All around, there is emptiness and silence.

The name


The name Rum most likely comes from an Aramaic root meaning 'high' or 'elevated', according to UNESCO, many humans and cultures inhabited Wadi Rum have been since prehistoric times.


Before the Nabateans:

As Rum is close to national borders, People have lived there for thousands of years, struggling to survive in its harsh environment. They have been hunters, pastoralists, farmers and traders.

  In the Old Testament, the area of Wadi Rum mentioned as the centre of the emirate of the Prince of Aram. Iram was a name given to one of the sons of Noah, whose descendants lived in the region, the Iram is also mentioned in the Holy Koran, linking it with a tribe called Ad, whose name was discovered in an inscription on an ancient temple at Rum.

The Place


For the Nabataeans, Wadi Rum was a branch route coming up from Arabia, and they built a loose line of defensive watch-posts, in addition, in the Roman time, by Roman geographer and astrologer Ptolemy, the area mentioned by the name (Aramwa).


It is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rocks, with the highest peak in Jordan is south of Rum close to the Saudi border. Named Jabel um Addaami it is 1,840 m high, it is an important tourist destination, and attracts foreign tourists, particularly trekkers and climbers.


Some popular tourist sites where named after the British officer T. E. Lawrence, who based his operations at Wadi Rum during the Arab Revolt, fighting the Ottomans Empire.


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