Siwa Oasis is 300 km (186 miles) southwest of Marsa
Matrouh. Permits for foreigners are no longer required as
before, however very remote and off the beaten tracks require
special permission from tourist authorities.
Despite being very far from the Nile valley, Siwa had a vital
role in the Egyptian history. When Cambyses,
the Persian Emperor invaded Thebes
and decided a crusade to the temple of Amun
in Siwa, his big army got lost in the desert in one of the ancient
mysteries, still studied by scientists till now.
Two hundred years later in 331 BC Alexander
the Great visited the temple to pay homage to the Egyptian
God Amun and there he was beatified by the Amun priests as son
of god, part of his wise approach to the Egyptians.
In modern times Egyptians started to look towards Siwa to explore
more of its history and enjoy the beautiful gift of nature.
Siwa local inhabitants of Berber-origin are still retaining
their unique tradition, dialect and customs.
The oasis is so beautiful and it has several thousand palm
trees and olive trees, forming Siwa's main production of dates,
olives and olive oil.
Siwa is also full of hundreds of freshwater springs, which
makes it the prime source of pure mineral water in Egypt.
Siwa's chief city is Shali.
|The Temple of the Oracle:
The temple lies about 10 km (6 miles) east of Shali town atop of Aghurmi
hill. The temple was built by the 26th
dynasty between 7th and 6th century BC and was dedicated
to Egyptian God Amun. The temple of Amun, once visited by Alexander
the Great, is now in ruins. The temple is incorporated in the
old abandoned village of Aghurmi.
In the depression below the hill is another ruined temple
dedicated to God Amun. This one is believed to have been connected
to the Temple of the Oracle by a causway. The temple, which
is believed to be built by 30th
dynasty King Nectanebo
II, was subject to stone vandalism causing its current
|Gabal El-Mawta (Mount of the dead):
The mountain lies one kilometer (0.6 miles) north of Shali town.
Several tombs dating back to the Late Pharaonic,
Roman eras are
cut on its side. Unfortunately, many of these were robbed but
some stand with few remarkable decorations.
It is in a form of a spring that pours in a sun-brick pool surrounded
by a bosket of palms. You can take a bath enjoying the titillative
feeling of the water bubbles on your skin but in wearing modest
clothes to show respect for the traditions of the locals. The
bath is north of Gabal
|Fantasy Island Pool:
The island is in Berket
Siwa, the biggest lake in the oasis. The site is about 10 km (6 miles)
from Shali town. The island is reachable by a narrow causeway
running through the lake to the island. It is remarkable for
its lush verdure. The pool could be considered better than that