Although the free handout map, and almost all tourist literature, names the soaring pinnacles of rock directly opposite the Visitor Centre as the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, this is a fabrication, made up in the last few years by marketing executives to cash in on the legend of Lawrence. (Five of the pinnacles are in plain view; the other two are round the side.) Lawrence never mentioned this mountain, and took the title of his most famous work from the Book of Proverbs (9:1): “Wisdom has built a house; she has hewn out her seven pillars”. The local bedouin referred to this mountain as Jabal al-Mazmar long before outsiders had ever heard of Rum. It seems tragic that even they are now calling it the “Seven Pillars”.

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