Traverse the other-worldly scenery of Jordan’s Wadi Rum. The unparalleled desert, which has provided the backdrop to movies like The Martian and Star Wars, offers travelers the opportunity to hike, camp, and take in a landscape not unlike Mars. For a true outer space experience, visitors can stay overnight for a guide-led star-gazing adventure.
Travel to a galaxy far, far away without ever needing light speed.
A project to safeguard ancient inscriptions and drawings in a desert valley is helping local Bedouins to draw connections to the past.
Jordan’s petroglyphs are riddled with bullet holes from historic target practice and battles. A multidisciplinary forensics team went to Wadi Rum to assess the damage.
Jordan is booming with adventure, indoors and out. From Petra to Wadi Rum, this guide outlines bike tours, ancient archaeological visits, and nights under the stars.
Find things to do around Jordan for your trip to the Middle East. From floating in the Red Sea to exploring ancient historical sites, don’t miss these must-do’s.
FIU mathematics professor Ada Monserrat frequently travels on semester breaks pursuing unique experiences. Previous trips have taken Monserrat on visits to all parts of the world. She has visited CERN in Geneva, home of the Large Hadron Collider where the Higgs-Boson particle was discovered. She has explored the history of flight and space exploration at the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow. She has been to Madame Marie Curie’s home in Poland and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. She has traveled to Jerusalem to meet Anne Frank’s best friend. This year, she explored the ruins of Genbaku Dome in Hiroshima, one of the few buildings left standing near ground zero of the 1945 atomic bomb.
But perhaps one of her most memorable journeys was in 2014 when she traveled to the University of Cambridge for a one-on-one meeting with acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking. When Monserrat learned of his passing this year, she was in the Middle East. After having spent a few days in the city of Petra in Jordan’s southwestern desert, Monserrat cut her trip short to travel to Cambridge and pay her respects.
Read more from source: Saying goodbye to Stephen Hawking
You’re in for a surprising adventure of a lifetime
Jordan is a country that often suffers guilt by association due to its location in the Middle East. But safe and hospitable, visitors who take the time to discover this beautiful country are rewarded with stunning natural landscapes and world-renowned historical and religious sites. Here are seven reasons why you should visit this hidden gem of the Middle East.
1. FLOAT IN THE DEAD SEA
Located in the Jordan Rift Valley, bordered by Israel to the East and Jordan to the West, the Dead Sea is actually a lake, and a very salty one at that. The Dead Sea’s extreme saltiness means that once you wade in, your body instantly bobs to the surface — leaving you free to lie back, relax, and enjoy a soak at the lowest point on Earth. After your swim, you can slather yourself in Dead Sea mud, which has proven healing properties, due to its high concentration of salts and minerals.
2. VISIT PETRA, AN ANCIENT METROPOLIS
Journey across Jordan leads to many archaeological treasures, including the magnificent ancient city of Petra.
In Jordan’s extraordinary rose-red “Lost City” of Petra, I have just huffed up 700 zigzagging stone-carved steps to the ancient mountaintop High Place of Sacrifice with its sacred altar and goat blood drain. And now, along a dirt trail, I rest in a rug-draped souvenir stall while an octogenarian Bedouin woman — who is traditionally clad in a long embroidered madraga dress and grew up in a cave — deftly strings a fragrant necklace of dried cloves to sell me.
Way down below, camels with tasseled bridles emit rumbling, dinosaurlike roars while being led by robed Bedouin tribesmen whose eyes are rimmed in jet-black kohl liner.
October 19th the final adventure. We are leaving the remains of ancient desert nomads behind to join living nomads inhabiting the desert today. From the Nabataeans to the Bedouin. They inhabit Wadi Rum which is also a UNESCO world heritage site. A ‘Wadi’ is the valley of a dry river hence Petra is in Wadi Musa. The &Rum& part I don’t know about! Mind you, many of the men there could be family to Pirates from the Caribbean…. looking little Jack Sparrows, so who knows…….!
Our driver was funny, fast talking, good natured with a thick accent. He obliged us by making photo stops as we left Petra.
The desert landscape continues to impress and stun me. Who knew that barren land could be so varied… rock types and their formations, the colours of sand and stones, the continuing changes.
Wadi Rum is perhaps Jordan’s most prolific movie star. Its distinctive orange sands and dramatic sandstone mountains are unmistakable in the 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia.
But the valley’s film career did not stop there. Here are just a few features starring Rum – did you spot them all?
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Its most recent role, Wadi Rum appeared in this 2016 film as Jedha – the fictional desert moon, that is, not the Saudi city!
A swooping panorama shot of the distinctive Wadi was the best bit of the whole thing for this Jordan-loving expat. But don’t tell that to millions of Star Wars fans who helped the film to bring in over a billion dollars worldwide, making it the second-highest grossing film of last year!