The landscapes of Jordan are very different
from other parts of the Earth: about 90% of its territory are deserts and semideserts. The most famous of them is Wadi Rum – an
amazing place untouched by time or civilization. For thousands of years the Sun and wind affected
the terrain and created cliffs, arcs, wells and canyons of various forms. When making movies about distant planets directors
choose Wadi Rum as a filming platform more often than any other part of the world. The unearthly terrain of Wadi Rum has been
the background for such movies like “Transformers”, “Red Planet”, “The Last Days on Mars”,
“The Martian” and many others. In Arabic one of the names of the desert is
“The Moon Valley”, but best of all it illustrates Mars: its sand and mountains are
colored in different shades of red. Some ancient cultures left their trace as writings and pictures on rocks hat illustrated humans and antelopes. There are about 30 thousand petroglyphs on Wadi Rum rocks. The whole surface of the desert amounts to 720
square kilometers. It is 60 km east from Aqaba and Eilat. The highest peak on this territory is the
Jabal Umm ad Dami mountain (1854 meters). On a clear day you can see the Red Sea and
the border with Saudi Arabia. The unique Wadi Rum terrain appeared as a
result of a crack in the Earth’s crust that moved giant plates of granite and sandstone. The soil, stones and clay have a red color
here. It is especially bright during sunset and
makes the landscape extraordinary. Wadi Rum has been inhabited since the prehistoric
times: ancient authors wrote of olive and pine trees and grapes that grew here. A part of them can still be found on tops
of the mountains. But nowadays this is a very harsh place with
enormous temperature drops: from +32 °C in daytime to only +4 °C at night. The desert is not uninhabited: fig trees, camelthorn and other enduring plants grow here. Moreover, after rare winter rains Wadi Rum
is covered with hundreds of wild weeds and flowers. Some of them are used by locals as native
medicine. Some part of the soil is fertile and the Beduins
have made a living here. Their villages are surrounded with orange
and olive gardens and fig groves. Wadi Rum is a part the world cinematography:
in 1962 the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” was filmed here and later received and Oscar. In Wadi Rum you can often find spiders, lizards and snakes, but there are also hedgehogs, hares and damans – little desert mammals that look like rodents. One of the Wadi Rum mountains is named “The
Seven Pillars of wisdom”: so where called the memoirs of Lawrence in which there was place for describing the landscapes of the desert. In 1998 the desert was declared a protected
territory, and in 2011 – as the UNESCO World Heritage.