Coming from the northern plateau, the first sight of Wadi Rum is a bird’s eye vision of crags and pinnacles thrusting up from the sandy desert floor, each stacked behind another till they dissolve in haze. This vast tract of southern Jordan takes its name from the grandest of a whole network of wadis.
‘They were not unbroken walls of rock,’wrote T. E. Lawrence, in one of several lyrical passages on Wadi Rum in Seven Pillars of Wisdom, ‘but were built sectionally, in crags like gigantic buildings along the two sides of their street… They gave the finishing semblance of Byzantine architecture to this irresistible place: this processional way greater than imagination… Landscapes in childhood’s dream were so vast and silent’. Lawrence came here during the Arab Revolt of 1917-18, when tribal politics or logistics required it, or to find solace. Much of David Lean’s 1960s epic, Lawrence of Arabia, was filmed here.