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Lawrence of Arabia is one of the most celebrated movies of yesteryear, earning seven Academy Awards. This 1962 epic drama showcases British army officer Thomas Edward Lawrence as he unites Arab troops during a pivotal time in their history. The film’s enduring brilliance has stood the test of time, with its locations becoming the subject of intrigue and admiration for years to come.
Embark on a journey with Wego as we traverse through time, revisiting the historic locations where Lawrence and his troops once strategized and triumphed.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Much of the filming for Lawrence of Arabia took place in Spain, masterfully transformed into a Middle Eastern setting by the film’s cinematographers. Jordan and England also played key roles, adding depth and authenticity to the film’s backdrop. For those who deeply admire the movie, exploring these regions could offer a uniquely rewarding experience.
Disclaimer: If you haven’t watched the ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ movie yet or are currently in the midst of it, this article contains spoilers. Proceed reading at your own discretion.
Located about 30 kilometres north of Almería in Spain, the Tabernas Desert is a stark landscape that has been the setting for numerous adventure films. Its vast expanse was notably featured in a poignant scene from Lawrence of Arabia, where Lawrence demonstrated his loyalty to the Arabs by braving the perilous Nefud desert to rescue a lost soldier. In recognition of Lawrence’s courage, Sherif Ali gifted him traditional Arab robes.
Today, the Tabernas Desert is home to an oasis named in honor of the film, the Oasis de Lawrence de Arabia. Visitors can access this site by flying into Almeria International Airport and hiring a taxi or car.
Playa del Algarrobico
Situated near Almeria, Playa del Algarrobico is a pristine beach renowned for its natural beauty and its role in Lawrence of Arabia. This location was transformed into the Jordanian city of Aqaba for the film, serving as the backdrop for a major port and the site of a daring assault led by Lawrence. The scene, featuring a dramatic clash of hundreds of soldiers amidst the desert landscape, remains one of the film’s most memorable sequences.
Although the film set constructed here no longer stands, the location continues to evoke the epic battle for movie enthusiasts. Conveniently accessible, visitors can easily reach Playa del Algarrobico by car after landing at Almeria International Airport.
Casa de Pilatos
Nestled in the heart of Seville, Spain, the grand Casa de Pilatos played a significant role in Lawrence of Arabia as the setting for the intense exchange between General Allenby and Lawrence. Built in 1519, this majestic edifice was once believed to be a replica of Pontius Pilate’s residence in Jerusalem, a notion later disproved by research. Its walls, floors, and ceilings are adorned with intricate tile work and sculptures, reflecting the splendor of 16th-century architecture.
The castle provided the perfect backdrop for the pivotal scene where Lawrence firmly distances himself from Allenby’s intentions for Damascus.
Once in Seville, reaching this historic palace is straightforward. Visitors can take a city bus from Prado San Sebastian or opt to drive.
The Wadi Rum
The Wadi Rum, situated twenty miles north of the Gulf of Aqaba in Jordan, is renowned for its breathtaking desert landscapes, characterized by orange dunes that create a spectacular setting. This unique environment serves as a captivating backdrop for scenes in the movie, transporting viewers to a different era.
In the movie, Wadi Rum becomes the mesmerizing stage for the first encounter between Lawrence and Prince Faisal. Against this stunning backdrop, Lawrence showcases his knowledge and openness that captivates the Prince, depicting the power and beauty of his character.
For enthusiasts of the movie, a visit to Lawrence Spring in Wadi Rum is a must. Named after the film, this location features a rock with ancient inscriptions, a tent, and camels reminiscent of Lawrence’s time there. Wadi Rum is easily reachable from Aqaba or Petra, either by private car or taxi.
Situated in the Ma’an Governorate of Jordan, Al Jafr is a quaint town approximately 265 kilometres south of the capital city, Amman. Encircled by expansive desert landscapes, it served as the filming location for Sherif Ali’s memorable entrance scene in Lawrence of Arabia.
In this iconic sequence, Lawrence and his guide Tafas pause at a well amidst the desert. From a distant mirage, they watch as Sherif Ali dramatically appears on a camel. This scene has since been hailed as one of the most remarkable cinematic sequences ever created.
St. Paul’s Cathedral, London
Constructed in 1697, St. Paul’s Cathedral is a cherished symbol of London, embodying the city’s rich history and culture. The iconic edifice offers visitors a chance to witness breathtaking city views from the top of its dome, an experience treasured by tourists and locals alike for centuries.
The cathedral’s steps served as the poignant setting for Lawrence’s memorial service following his untimely demise in a motorcycle accident. This location was a fitting tribute to a man of such esteemed stature.
Access to the Cathedral is convenient, with options including city buses, trains, cars, or the London Underground.