Thomas Edward Lawrence is a highly famous figure in the Anglo-Saxon world, to some extent mythologized by one of Hollywood’s most award-winning films of all time: Lawrence of Arabia. Whether his contribution to the Arab Revolt is exaggerated or not, the truth is that he remains a draw for foreign travelers visiting Jordan even today. Therefore, in this post, we outline some of the connections this British military officer and writer had in the Wadi Rum desert.
Camp in the desert as a operational base
T.E. Lawrence, along with the troops of Emir Faisal whom he was embedded with, spent several months in the Wadi Rum desert. This was their operational camp as they aimed to ‘conquer’ Aqaba, a strategic coastal city that was still under Ottoman control in early 1917.
During that time, as expected, T.E. Lawrence had the opportunity to witness and experience the beauty of this natural reserve. And what better way to capture his excitement for these rocky and lunar landscapes than to paraphrase the words of the British writer and military officer himself, as he believed that they “had that same vast and tranquil appearance as in childhood dreams.”
Mountains renamed as The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Much of what we know about T.E. Lawrence is thanks to the book he wrote about his experiences within the Arab Revolt. He captured it in a book titled “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” referencing the seven pillars upon which virtue built its abode, as mentioned in the Bible.
In the 1980s, as a nod to this character and his book, and perhaps as a savvy decision in terms of tourism marketing, the most iconic mountains of this desert were renamed with that name. These are the mountains that greet travelers upon their arrival at the visitor center of this natural reserve.
Another place associated with this character is his house… or perhaps we should say the ruins of the supposed house of T.E. Lawrence. It is a popular belief that the remains of a structure located in Wadi Rum correspond to the house that the British man would have occupied during his time in the desert. Whether true or not, it possesses that evocative power and the magic combination of natural rock and human-made masonry.
Lawrence’s Overlook Spring
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom mountains and the house are the only spaces directly alluding to T.E. Lawrence. There is also a spring that has been renamed Lawrence’s Overlook, precisely in reference to a description of the place made by the author himself.
All these locations are distant from each other, and it is not easy to pinpoint them on the map since, being an open desert, there are no specific postal addresses. Therefore, the best way to experience them is through a 4×4 route, such as the ones included in our Jordan tours. So, if you want to delve into the figure of Lawrence of Arabia and, above all, feel what he felt when he passed through here, do not hesitate to contact us.