Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2011
Size of heritage: 74,180 ha
- Buffer zone: 59,177 ha

Longitude: 35,434°
Latitude: 29,640°


The 74,000-hectare property, inscribed as a mixed natural and cultural site, is situated in southern Jordan, near the border with Saudi Arabia. It features a varied desert landscape consisting of a range of narrow gorges, natural arches, towering cliffs, ramps, massive landslides and caverns. Petroglyphs, inscriptions and archaeological remains in the site testify to 12,000 years of human occupation and interaction with the natural environment. The combination of 25,000 rock carvings with 20,000 inscriptions trace the evolution of human thought and the early development of the alphabet. The site illustrates the evolution of pastoral, agricultural and urban activity in the region.

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Wadi Rum Protected Area: A Jewel of Jordan's Desert

The Wadi Rum Protected Area, located in southern Jordan at coordinates N29 38 23 E35 26 2, is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its breathtaking desert landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Spanning over 74,000 hectares, this protected area is a true gem of the Arabian Desert, attracting visitors from around the world.


The history of Wadi Rum dates back thousands of years, with evidence of human presence dating as far back as prehistoric times. The area has been inhabited by various civilizations, including the Nabateans, Romans, and Bedouins, each leaving their mark on the landscape and culture.

The Nabateans, an ancient Arab civilization, established trade routes through Wadi Rum, leaving behind rock inscriptions and carvings that still exist today. The Romans later utilized the area as a military outpost, evident from the remains of fortresses and watchtowers scattered throughout the desert.

However, it is the Bedouin people who have had the most significant influence on Wadi Rum. For centuries, Bedouin tribes have called this desert their home, living a nomadic lifestyle in harmony with the land. Their traditions, customs, and knowledge of the desert have been passed down through generations, contributing to the unique cultural heritage of the area.

Current State

Today, the Wadi Rum Protected Area is carefully managed to preserve its natural and cultural significance. The desert landscape, characterized by towering sandstone mountains, vast sand dunes, and narrow canyons, remains largely untouched by modern development.

The area is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, adapted to the harsh desert environment. Acacia trees, wildflowers, and herbs dot the landscape, providing sustenance for the wildlife that includes ibex, gazelles, and various bird species. The protected area also serves as a sanctuary for endangered species such as the Arabian oryx and the Syrian wolf.

Visitors to Wadi Rum can explore the desert through various activities, such as guided jeep tours, camel rides, and hiking. The unique rock formations, such as the famous "Seven Pillars of Wisdom," named after T.E. Lawrence's book, offer awe-inspiring vistas and opportunities for rock climbing and mountaineering.

Furthermore, the cultural heritage of the Bedouin people is celebrated and shared with visitors. Bedouin camps offer a glimpse into their traditional way of life, with opportunities to experience their hospitality, cuisine, and music. Bedouin guides also provide insights into the history, geology, and folklore of the area, enriching the visitor's experience.

Efforts are continuously made to ensure sustainable tourism in Wadi Rum. Local communities actively participate in the management of the protected area, benefiting from tourism while preserving their cultural identity and natural surroundings. Eco-friendly practices, such as waste management and renewable energy initiatives, are implemented to minimize the impact on the fragile desert ecosystem.

In conclusion, the Wadi Rum Protected Area in Jordan is a UNESCO World Heritage site of immense natural and cultural value. Its ancient history, stunning desert landscapes, and the enduring traditions of the Bedouin people make it a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Arabian Desert.