From the World Heritage inscription for the Wadi Rum Protected Area:
Wadi Rum Protected Area (WRPA) is located in the southern part of Jordan, east of the Rift Valley and south of the steep escarpment of the central Jordanian plateau. It comprises an area of 74,200 hectares. WRPA’s natural values include desert landforms developed within continental sandstones. These landforms have been developed under the influence of a combination of various controlling factors, such as lithology, tectonic activities (including rapid uplift, numerous faults and joints) and surface processes (including various types of weathering and erosion associated with desert climate as well as humid climates in the past), representing million years of ongoing landscape evolution.
Widespread petroglyphs, inscriptions, and archaeological remains testify to 12,000 years of human occupation and interaction with the natural environment, illustrating the evolution of pastoral, agricultural and urban human activity in the Arabian Peninsula and the environmental history of the region.
The rock art, inscriptions and archaeological evidence in WRPA can be considered an exceptional testimony of the cultural traditions of its early inhabitants. The combination of 25,000 petroglyphs, 20,000 inscriptions, and 154 archaeological sites provides evidence to the continuity of habitation and land-use over a period of at least 12,000 years. The petroglyphs, representing human and animal figures, are engraved on boulders, stones, and cliff faces. They provide evidence of long-term patterns of pastoral, agricultural and urban human activity in the property. Engravings indicate an elaborate sense of aesthetics in a pictorial culture, and the archaeological findings span all eras from the Neolithic to the Nabataean. Thamudic, Nabataean and numerous Arabic inscriptions in four different scripts testify to the widespread literacy among its pastoral societies.
I’m so glad Wadi Rum was added to the World Heritage list. It was one of the most deserving locations that I’ve visited that was not on the list. I spent two nights in Wadi Rum in a bedouin camp and it was a great experience. Wadi Rum is famous as the location where the movie Lawrence of Arabia was shot. The stunning desert backdrop made it an obvious choice for an epic film. Oddly enough, TE Lawrence never passed through Wadi Rum during the actual Great Arab Revolt.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Jordan.
View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.