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From the Valley of the Moon to the Rose City

If you’ve been to the movies recently (or, indeed, ever) the chances are you’ve seen Jordan taking a starring role. Along with the pink sandstone city of Petra, Wadi Rum (known for obvious reasons as ‘the Valley of the Moon’) is one of the Jordanian locations most often seen on the big screen. 

Eagle-eyed Star Wars’ fans will have seen this spectacular desert-scape crop up firstly as the wintry moon Jedha in Rogue One (2016). Lately, it’s been back, this time posing as Pasaana in The Rise of Skywalker (2019). As an intense-looking Rey sprints ahead of an onrushing spacecraft, it’s the sand of Wadi Rum that swirls around her.

Those looking for an otherworldly location to set a film (or just to visit), find exactly that in Jordan. It’s a unique combination of compelling history, vibrant culture and spectacular geography. The preservation of Petra in the face of the desert’s knife-sharp winds is little short of miraculous; dramatic canyons chiselled through red rock punctuate Wadi Rum’s stark desert.

For the traveller to Jordan, there are eye-opening sights and experiences to absorb at every turn. We have a few highlights we’d love to share with you and your students…

Jerash: as a city that’s been inhabited since the Bronze Age, Jerash is packed with archaeological sites. Many Roman remains can be found here, including the nymphaeum (ornamental fountain) and hippodrome (arena for sports and chariot races).

The Monastery at Petra: it’s an 800-step climb to the hand-carved façade of the Monastery, nestled back into the rugged surrounding rock. Cast a glance back to see the desert and valley unfolding far below.

Sleeping under the stars in Wadi Rum: the Bedouin people have made the seemingly inhospitable desert their home for generations. Camping in their company is a privilege, while watching the sunset and soaking in the vastness of the star-packed sky is unforgettable.

The Crusader Castle of Kerak: a formidable reminder of the religious struggles that shaped modern Jordan, here the Frankish Crusaders took on the mighty Islamic army of Saladin.

The Dead Sea: a sea – or more accurately a lake – like no other, there’s no lower point on earth. The hypersaline water is renowned for its therapeutic purposes and is credited with having been used in the preparation of Egyptian mummies. 

Dana Biosphere Reserve: occupied by humans since the Palaeolithic era, the area around Dana village is now Jordan’s largest nature reserve. A unique collection of plants and animals native to the desert, forest and plains flourishes here.

Look Familiar? Jordan in the Movies…

  • Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
  • The Hurt Locker (2008)
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  • Prometheus (2012)
  • Theeb (2014)
  • The Martian (2015)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
  • Aladdin (2019)
  • Dune (2020)