Wadi Rum (Desert Week 2)
Thursday, 18th June 2009 by Kevin Batdorf
Welcome to the second annual GSS Desert Week! In time-honoured tradition, we’ll mostly be posting about deserts. For about a week!
The beautiful Wadi Rum is a mere 720 square km desert valley located in the southern part of Jordan. Once submerged under the Red Sea, it is now home to the native Bedouin people and is a favourite spot for foreign travellers looking to explore the vast desert wilderness. Wadi Rum was also the set of the classic film, Lawrence of Arabia the story of T.E. Lawrence, a British officer during WWI.
Wadi Rum is surrounded by some spectacular mountains of sandstone and granite, which cater to all kinds of adventurous activities if you decide to take a trip there. Although the Bedouin1 were traditionally a nomadic tribe, today most have built homes and adopted a more stationary lifestyle – with many living off the revenue generated by local tourism.
It wasn’t until the 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia that Wadi Rum became widely known to Western society. In the film, British officer T.E Lawrence spends time in Wadi Rum during the Arab revolts of WWI, helping the Arabs fight against the Turks and eventually conquer the Ottoman Empire. While the movie is a bit misleading, Lawrence did at least spend some time in Wadi Rum during the war. Nevertheless, because of the amazing scenery, Wadi Rum was an excellent choice of location.
The majority of the Bedouins living in Wadi Rum are from the Zalabia and Sweilhin tribes. ↩