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Wadi Rum in Jordan

Wadi Rum (Valley of the Moon)

If you think this is a scene from a Star Wars movie, there may be a little truth to it.

Wadi Rum (Arabic for Roman Valley) is also known as The Valley of the Moon, a protected area covering 720 square kilometers of dramatic desert wilderness in the south of Jordan. The largest wadi in Jordan is cut into the huge mountains of sandstone and granite rock which reach heights of 1700 meters in southern Jordan to the east of Aqaba. Inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, communities leave their marks in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples found in narrow canyons and fissures. These include the highly artistic Nabataeans, as well as other communities known as “monks of the desert”.

Wadi Rum Bedouins © Jojie Alcantara

Today, Bedouin tribes live among the mountains of Rum in their large goat-hair tents, and a surprising range of desert wildlife.

Wadi Rum Protected Area was declared in 2011 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its most outstanding desert landscapes, lending a surreal feel to the vast environment. This is why it has been used as a background setting for its science fiction vista like Red Planet (surface of Mars, 2000 film), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (to represent Egypt), Prometheus (an alien planet), Last Days on Mars (2013 film), and The Martian (Matt Damon’s 2015 film), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (scenes set on Jedha), among others.

Wadi Rum in Jordan © Jojie Alcantara

It first gained prominence in 1962 when the classic film Lawrence of Arabia was set on location.

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