Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is like a street with huge buildings along both sides.They are like unbroken walls of rock.Deep alleys fifty feet across,divided the crags,whose plans were smoothed by the weather into great apses and bays,and enriched with surface fretting and fracture,like design...They gave the finishing semblance of Byzantine architecture to this irresistible place.

Wadi Rum has been inhabited since earliest times,and seems to have been an important center for the Nabataeans,fot the ruins of a Nabataean temple have been found at the foot of the great massif of Jebel Rum.

There is a small fort here,one of a string built in 1933 by Glubb Pasha,as an outpost of the desert patrol-now known as the Bedouin Police-which he had created only three years earlier.The bedu who joined it were transformed into an unflinching and disciplined force that represented everything that was most formidable and romantic in Middle East warfare.They won legendary reputation in the Second World War.Glubb himself designed their uniform-long khaki skirt, red sash,lanyard and bullet bandolier,a silver dagger tucked into the belt,and on the head a red-chequered shamagh held in place by a black aghal.They were the cynosure of every eye.

The Bedouin Police are still a formidable force,though now mostly mechanized rather than on camels.They patrol the borders to combat smuggling,in particular of arms and drugs;but much of their work is concerned with local security and social welfare,working in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Health to maintain services in remote areas.The base at Wadi Rum is now largely a sideshow for the benefit of tourists.
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