"o, that the desert were my dwelling place!" (Byron)

The word oasis is oftern a place where you can forget the cares of everyday life, relax, rest and renew yourself.

Egypt's oases are just that: unspoilt refuges from the modern world, pockets of civilizationin the dramatic setting of the desert. Surrounded by sand and sky, the oases have a sense of timelessness rare in the 20th century. Man and nature have co-existed here since the Stone Age, but the stars, the rock formations and the dunes defy the calculation of human calendars.

Egypt's oases are still the most varied in the world, each with a distinguished character of its own.
Wherever you stay, enjoy the tranquility of the Bedouin lifestyle, the date groves and pigeon towers.

For adventure and excitement, explore the majesty of the desert by camel or jeep safari, spend a night under the stars. Take a morning dip in the hot sulphur springs, the water and silt which have numerous curative properties.

Fayoum
"The bud of the stem of the Nile"

The name Fayoum originates from the hieroglyphic word Bayoum, which meant "the Sea", a reference to the large Lake Qaoun

Only two hours for its year-round warm climate, numerous water wheels (introduced by the Ptolemies in the 3rd century BC) and lush agricultural land. Opposite the local marketplace in Fayoum City is the Hanging Mosque, built above five arches, and nearby is the 15th century Mosque of Khunda Asla-Bey built by Sultan Qaitbey for his wife.
Fayoun has been a traditional hunting ground since pharaonic times when Crocodiopolis, centre of the cult of Sobek, was the capital  of the region. There are many Pharaonic sites in the area, for example: the red granite obelisk of Senusert I and the pyramid of Senusert II at Al-Lahun, the pyramid of Amenemhat III at Hawara, and the remains of the ancient city of Karais, where you can camp and visit the site musuem, in addition to safari trips.

Baharia Oases

Located 365 km south west of Giza and 200 km from Fafafra Oasis. The Oases are famous for their palm trees, olives, apricots, rice and corn. Intertwined trees provide attractive scenery with contrast to massive sand dunes. The region is rich in wildlife of migrant birds and deer. Bawiti is the capital of Baharia Oases that occupies a hillside. The oases are famous for their 398 mineral and sulphur springs. The most famous are Bir Hakima, Bir Halfa, Bir Al Matar, and Bir El Ghaba. The old Roman springs flow through cracked stones. Ein El Bishmo springs flow through both hot and cold water flow from separate sources then blend in a rocky creek, in addition to Al Qasaa wells. Baharia oases archaeological sites date back to Pharaonic periods. "zis zis" was the original name of the region. Most of the antiquities belong to the 26th dynasty "Saite period". a major archaeologicol site El Qasr houses Ein El Mifatala, Qarat Helwa and Al Tibniya area that  includes Alexander the great temple. El Maron, El Dist and El Maghrafa antiquities are located next to limestone temple in El Qasr area. El Bawiti houses, the largest Ptolemaic necropolis dedicated to Ibis bird. Its historic tombs are located in the complex of (Youssef Selim, El Sheikh Soby and Al Farouj).
El Heez area is famous for its ancient churches, palaces and Roman tombs. Binantiew tomb dates back to 26th dynasty and represents unique pharaonic paintings. "Valey of the Golden Mummies" has been recently discovered in a Roman necropolis, 6 km from Bawiti.
Visitors can arrange safari trips to the oases while enjoying Bedouin folklore in the evenings. Baharia oases are connected with Siwa and Farafra oases through a motorway.

The New Valley Oases

"
The desert-circle spreads like the round ocean, girdled with the sky" Southey

The four New Valley oases are situated along a dead, prehistoric branch of the Nile and depend on springs and wells tapping underground water.

Al Kharga

Al Kharga used to be the last but one stop on the Forty Days Road, the infamous slave-trade route between North Africa and the tropical south. Today, it is the biggest New Valley oasis. Outside the main centre is the Temple of Hibis, built on the site of a Saite, Persian and Ptolemaic settlement. One of the few Persian monuments in Egypt, the 6th century B.C. temple is well-preserved with painted vultures and huge reliefs of Darius greeting Egyptian gods on the outer walls. Ten kilometers away, the Necropolis of Al-Bagawat houses 263 mud brick tombs with coptic murals, including the remains of one of the oldest churches in Egypt: the Tomb of Peace and the Tomb of the Exodus. Pharaonic monuments include Al-Ghuwayta Temple which dates from 522 B.C., Nadoura Citadel, Qasr El Zayyan that dates back to the Ptolemaic era, and the Museum of Antiquities.
The thermal springs of Bulaq and Nasser to the south, are famous for water temperatures up to 43oC and reputed to be suitable for the treatment of rheumatism and allergies. Camping facilities are available. Further south in Baris Oasis, the second largest settlement in Al Kharga. It houses Roman Temple of Dush, dedicated to Isis and Serapis.

 

Al Dakhla

Dominated on its northern horizon by a wall of rose-coloured rock. Fertile cultived areas are dotted between sand dunes along the roads from Farafra and Kharga in this area of outstanding natural beauty. The capital, Mut, houses the Museum of Heritage, a traditional house. Rooms, with sculpted clay figures, are arranged to show different aspects of Al Dakhla culture and family life.
Islamic Village of Al-Qasr, about 35km from Mut, houses ruins of an Ayubid mosque. The Pharaonic Balat tombs date from the 6th dynasty and Qalamon village dates back to the Turkish era. On the way back to Mut, located Bir Al Gabal, a palm-fringed salt lake where you can camp and picnic.

Other day-trips from Mut could include the 1st century Al-Mozawaka tombs and Deir Al-Hagar, a temple which was originally dedicated to the Theban Triad. After exploring the temple, bathe in the hot sulphur spring nearby. Visit Bashendi to see Roman tombs and a factory where carpets are still woven with scenes of Al Dakhla life. Nearby lies the Islamic Balaat village, a trading post with ancient Nubia. The oasis abounds in springs and wells of which the most famous are those of Mut 3. Their temperature reaches 43oC and you can stay in equipped chalets. Ain Al-Qasr springs are located about 12 km in the mountain so that you can camp, enjoy one-day trip and Safari.

Farafra

Known as Ta-iht or the Land of the Cow in Pharaonic times, is an isolated village, of which the oldest part lies on a hillside, next to peaceful palm groves; a short ride away, there are hot sulphur springs at Bir Setta and El-Mufid Lake where you can swim. The oasis houses Qasr Al-Farafra and Qasr Abu Minqar which are ruins of Roman buildings. An art center that houses a museum and studio exhibiting paintings and ceramics of a local artist is situated in a garden full of sculptures made of materials available in the desert. Beautiful hand-knitted camel-hair sweaters, socks and scarves are also local products. Day-trips by jeep and camel trecks from here to the white Desert, Bahariya, Dakhla and Siwa can be arranged.

The White Desert

A trip to the White Desert is something that no visitor to the New Valley should miss. Travellers coming from Bahariya will cross through the Black Desert, passing the tiny oasis of El Heez on the way. Nearby, there are some Roman ruins, including a church with Coptic graffiti. Bahariya and Farafra are separeted by huge golden sand dunes which make a stunning photograph during the journey. Once you enter the White Desert through Al-Sillim passage, you meet a unique landscape of surreal wind-eroded rock formations which is particularly fascinating at sunrise or sunset. Camel and jeep trips, including a hot meal and fresh bread, made in the sand Bedouin style, can be arranged from Farafra.

Siwa

S
iwa is one of the most fascinating oases on the edge of the Great Sand Sea. Its rich history includes that visit of Alexander the Great to Amun Prophecy Temple in order to predict the phrophecy of Amun in 331 BC. Siwans have their own culture and customs, and they speak a Berber language, Siwi, rather than Arabic. Many women still wear traditional costumes and silver jewellery like those displayed in the Traditional Siwan House Museum at the town centre. Siwa remains one of the best places to buy jewellery, rugs, baskets, traditional robes and head-dresses, decorated with antique coins.
The original settlement, Aghurmi, was superseded by Shali, founded in 1203. Set among thick palm groves, walled gardens and olive orchards, with numerous fresh-water springs and salt lakes, modern Siwa was established over the ruins of ancient Shali. Climb through the ruins of the old city for the magnificient views of the whole oasis. Wlak, rent a bicycle or ride in a caretta (donkey cart) to outlying sights and places where you can relax.
These include 26th Dynasty tombs with murals and inscriptions at Jebel Al-Mawta (The Hill of the Dead) and the temple of Amun, an acropolis temple dating from around 550 BC. Near the Oracle is the ruined temple of Amun and the famous Cleopatra Bath, a deep pool of bubbling water where you can bathe. Another favourite bathing spot is Fatnis Island, on the salt lake of Briket Siwa, surrounded by palm trees and beautiful scenery.

VISIT OTHER CITIES
(ALEXANDRIA - ASWAN - SHARM EL SHEIKH - FAYOUM - MERSA MATRUH - LUXOR - MINYA )


SYRIA - LEBANON - JORDAN

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