While exploring the southern, lesser-known part of the Jordanian desert Wadi Rum, I notice a remarkable, palace-like structure sitting on a high, rocky cliff. The view reminded me of a scene from the classic Oscar-winning film Lawrence of Arabia. It just lacked camel caravans and people.

Who lived in such a place and why did they decide to abandon it? Perhaps the abandoned structure was the set for a film I was unfamiliar with. The harsh background recalls those against which The Martian, Rogue 1, A Star Wars Story, Red Planet or Prometheus were filmed. My curiosity piqued, I headed closer.

The huge wooden gates won’t budge a millimeter, as if they intentionally do not wish to reveal the secrets lurking behind them. Luckily, the back of the complex isn’t fortified, making it easier to get inside.

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