Wadi Rum Nabataean temple

In the Jordanian Wadi Rum, immediately west of the modern village of Wadi Ramm at the foot of the impressive cliffs of Jabal Rum, are the remains of a Nabataean temple. The temple was built during the reign of Nabataean King Aretas IV between 9 BC and AD 40 on the site of an earlier Thamudic temple. It was dedicated to the goddess Allat (al-Lāt), the pre-Islamic Arabian goddess who was equated with the Greek goddess Athena. Discovered in 1931, its plan is similar to other Nabataean temples, like the Winged Lions temple at Petra.

Excavations brought to light a rectangular podium, surrounded on three sides by columns originally painted in red, blue, and yellow and side rooms. Behind the temple are the remains of a large complex of 20 rooms, probably built during the latest phase of the temple. Latin inscriptions from the 3rd century AD show that the temple was still used by the Romans long after their annexation. As well as being a cultic centre, the temple is thought to have also functioned as a civic and administrative centre.

At Lawrence’s Spring, three kilometres away, are Nabataean inscriptions inscribed on the rock face.

Coordinates: 29°34’40.3″N 35°24’52.5″E


General view of the Nabataean temple.
The rectangular podium and shrine of the temple were accessed through a narrow stairway with seven steps.
The central shrine.
The temple’s podium.
Rear view of the podium’s temple
Nabataean column with inscriptions.
A side room.
Rear view of the temple.
In 1962 a complex of 20 rooms was cleared behind the temple. This complex was dated to the late 1st century AD.
There are earlier structures below the complex of 20 rooms, tentatively dated to the late 1st century BC.
Unfortunately, in 1995 an earthquake caused severe damage to the temple and other structures.
Nabataean inscriptions near Lawrence’s Spring.
Wadi Rum.


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