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Egypt tour oases of Egypt

An introduction to the oases of Egypt
By Seif Kamel

Since ancient times, the oases of Egypt have always served as a resort for the tired and weary travelers. The oases of Egypt have sufficient amounts of water for plant growth and human settlements. The main depression under the Western Desert of Egypt rise to a number of oases located to the West of the Nile as in this location, the water lies beneath the earth crust.  The Siwa Oasis for example lies only 18 meters below the Sea level.  Nowadays, many Egypt tour would include a visit to some of the oases.

Rain falling a long way seeps into porous rocks through which it slowly flows. This water emerges at an oasis where the water table is either at or near the surface. The water creates pressure that sometimes pushes water towards the surface. The oases of Egypt vary greatly in size and in many conditions. Some oases have enough water for a whole city to be established and with many inhabitants as well.

Away from supporting the human settlements, the Egyptian oases have the best conditions for a rich wildlife like the Egyptian Hyena, the Egyptian mongoose, and the little green bee-eater. Unfortunately, the growing population of the Egyptian oases and the intensive farming has started threatening the reserve of natural water in these Egyptian oases to the extent that the Fayoum, one of the Egyptian oases nowadays has to canal water from the Nile to have its supplies of water.  

Many of the oases of the Western Desert of Egypt have become a major touristic destination for many travelers who come to enjoy their Egypt Holidays.

The Kharga Oasis

Located to the west of the river Nile, 233 kilometers to the south west of Asyut, the Kharga Oasis, or the outsider, is the largest among all oases in Egypt.

Al Kharga was once famous for being the end of the infamous "forty day's road", the slavery trading rout between Egypt and Sudan. Nowadays, the modern city of Al Kharga is the capital of the governorate of Al Wadi El Gadeed, or the new valley, in Egypt.

The city that has its own charm hosts an interesting antiquities museum that displays findings that were unearthed in the Kharga and the Dakhla oases. Many tourists started exploring Al Kharga lately as part of their Egypt Vacations.

There is also the temple of Hibis, located to the North of the city of Al Kharga, which was built by Darius, the Persian King, in the 6th century BC and it is considered to be the best preserved and largest Persian temple in Egypt.

Near the temple, the Christian necropolis of Bagawat is located. This is the largest historical Christian burial site in Egypt containing hundreds of domed tombs decorated with Christian motifs and dating from the 4th to the 6th century AD. This ancient necropolis is one of the highlights of the Western desert visited by many tourists who travel to Egypt

To the South of Al Kharga, there is the Temple of Al Ghweita, dating back to the 25th dynasty and it is a rare example of the architecture of the time.

 The Dakhla Oasis

The Dakhla, or the insider, holds this name for being rather far from the Nile Valley, in comparison to Al Kharga. Considered to be the most attractive oasis in Egypt, Al Dakhla contains many water springs and green fields.

The lands of Al Dakhla are richly cultivated with olives, wheat, and dates. This is because of the availability of the water resources in the oasis.

The capital of Al Dakhla Oasis is the city of Mut that is famous for its ethnographic museum. The museum displays many sculptures created by one of the famous local artists of the Dakhla.

Located 27 kilometers northwest of Mut, the small town of Al Qasr, with its narrow streets and mud bricks structures, retains a great sense of the medieval period. Al Qasr has many remarkable historical building with a 10th century mosque and a 12th century Madrasa, or Islamic teachings school.

Near the city of Mut, the Necropolis of Mozzwaqa, or the rich decorated, is located. There are many remarkable tombs in this burial site especially these of Petosiris and Sadosiris with many magnificent colored tombs. The necropolis, dating back to the era of the Pharaohs, is considered to be an important historical site in Al Dakhla.

To the West of Mut, the remarkable temple of Deir Al Hagar, built by Emperor Nero in the first century AD, is isolated in the desert as one of the remarkable monuments of the region visited by hundreds of travelers as part of their custom tour to Egypt.  

A medieval town, with the name Balat, is located 35 kilometers to the east of Mut. The town is situated on the Old Kingdom of city settlement that had a long trading relation with Nubia.

The Farafra Oasis

The Farafra is the most isolated and less populated oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt. This is why it is one of the most marvelous places in Egypt for relaxing in a peaceful vacation. This was why the Farafra has started developing into a touristic spot attracting a large number of group tours to Egypt.

Most of the inhabitants of the Farafra are mainly Bedouins known for their strong attachment to traditions and family bonds.

The main city of the Al Farafra Oasis, that holds the same name; Farafra, was established on the now ruined fortress.  Farafra has turned into a nice vacation place for many foreigners who travel to Egypt.

Like any other villages in the Western Desert of Egypt, most of the houses of the Al Farafra were built out of mud bricks, with the exception of some new developed structures constructed to attract the outsiders.

The Museum of Badr, maybe the only attraction in the city of Farafra, has a notable collection of sculptures.

Although Al Farafra has nothing interesting to explore, the city would be the finest starting point to tour the White Desert, the Black Desert, and the Crystal Mountain, the most amazing sections of the Western Desert of Egypt.  

These attractions that one can not find anywhere else in the world encourage many tourists to go on Egypt tour and the Western Desert in particular

The Bahariya Oasis

The Bahariya Oasis was a major agriculture land during the Pharaonic period exporting a lot of wine to the Nile Valley.

The city was located in the middle of the historical trading rout between the desert and the Nile Valley with numerous products being exchanged.

Maybe because the Bahariya oasis is the nearest to Cairo, together with Siwa, it is the most popular tourists spots in the Western Desert affordable tours being organized to explore the area.

Nowadays, Al Bahariya, being near the White Desert, is one of the most favorite oases in Egypt visited by many tourists and Egyptians all the same.

Bawiti, the main village in the Bahariya Oasis, is quite picturesque with many palm trees surrounding the traditional mud brick houses.  Like many other oases in Egypt, Bahariya has a local museum, the oases heritage museum, with most of the displays done by the local artist Mohamed Eid.
br> The Bahariya is also famous for its many cold and warm water springs that are famous for swimming in the mineral water. Many affordable tours can be fixed for travelers who would like to visit the Bahariya.

The ruins of the famous Temple of Alexander the Great lies near Bahariya. The Temple, built in 332 BC, is a good example of the construction of the period. Lately, in the past few years, some golden mummy covers were discovered in an ancient necropolis near the oasis.

A remarkable excursion would be to the Black Mountain or The English Mountain as this was where the English forces camped and monitored the whole area in World War II.

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