Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric
times, with many cultures, including the Nabateans, leaving their mark in
the form of rock paintings, graffiti and temples. As of 2007,
several Bedouin tribes inhabit Wadi Rum and the surrounding area. In
the West, Wadi Rum is best known for it connection with T.E. Lawrence (of
Arabia), who based his operations here during the Arab Revolt of 1917-18.
In the 1980s one of the impressive rock formations in Wadi Rum was named
"The Seven Pillars of Wisdom" in memory of Lawrence's book,
written in the
aftermath of the war. The Seven Pillars referred to in the book
actually have no connection with Wadi Rum.
The area centred on Wadi Rum (the main valley) is home to the Zalabia Bedouin who, working with climbers and trekkers, have made a success of developing eco-adventure tourism, now their main source of income. The area around Disi to the NE, home of the Zuweida Dedouin and erroneously also thought to be part of Wadi Rum by visitors, caters more for Jordanian visitors from Amman, with campsites regularly used by party-goers.