Located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Libyan Desert, just 50 km east of the Libyan border and nearly 560 km from Cairo, Siwa Oasis is one of Egypt’s most isolated settlements.
Around 80km in length and some 20 km wide, Siwa supports a population of around 23,000 people, most of whom are ethnic Berbers, who have their own culture and customs and speak a Berber language called Siwi, rather than Arabic. Agriculture is the mainstay with mostly date and olive crops supplemented by smaller crops and basketry.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the Siwan landscape is the presence of several salt lakes, which diminish in size during the summer months. The area is also famous for its springs. The water is sweet tasting and said to possess medicinal properties.
Highlights of Siwa Oasis are the ruins of Shali, which loom above the centre and are floodlit in the evening. From vantage points in Shali, one can see the entire modern town, its palm groves, salt lakes and tabletop rocks beyond. The Hill of the Dead (Gebel al Mawta), a strange outcrop to the north of the city was used to bury the local kings from the 26th Dynasty. The fragmentary remains of the oracle temple, with some inscriptions dating from the 4th century BC, lie within the ruins of Aghurmi.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Siwa Oasis, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to Egypt
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