Thousands of years before other parts of the world entered the pages of history, the ancient Egyptians created in the desert of North Africa many oases not only of green fertile lands but also of civilization. Their oases were only as wide as the floodplain of the world’s longest river, extending more than four thousand miles. The first Egyptian empire, encompassing the river from its delta to a thousand miles upstream, was founded there some five thousand years ago. Each year the river would flood, depositing new fertile soil on the farmland and making the desert bloom. A 12 days tour begins in Cairo and stops in Luxor; through it you will get the chance to visit most of Egypt’s dwelling-places, The Oases Grand Tour.
Alamayn:Al ‘Alamayn or El ‘Alamein, town in northeastern Egypt, in MaĊ£ruh governorate, located near the Mediterranean Sea. Al ‘Alamayn is 326 km northwest of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, and 103 km west of Alexandria. The town is most famous as the scene of one of the most important battles of World War II (1939-1945). The Mediterranean coast north of Al ‘Alamayn has a number of rest houses and hotels, with plans to develop more. With good road and rail links to Alexandria, the town is also a gateway for exploring the Qattara Depression, an inland desert area below sea level. During World War II, the British Eighth Army, under General Bernard Law Montgomery, fell back to Al ‘Alamayn in June and July 1942 after being defeated by the Germans and Italians at Tobruk, Libya. On October 23, 1942, Montgomery initiated a successful offensive against the German Afrika Korps under General Erwin Rommel. Costing tens of thousands of casualties, this battle proved to be the turning point of the war in North Africa. Today, the WarMuseum in Al ‘Alamayn and British, German, and Italian monuments and cemeteries in the area commemorate the battle.(To Zoom Ctrl+ - To Enlarge, Click on Pictures)
Farafrah:The only real town in Farafra Oasis,Qasr al-Farafra remains an undeveloped speck on the western Egypt circuit that is only now beginning to discover the cheap thrills of concrete. The town’s tumbledown Roman fortress was originally built to guard this part of the desert caravan route, though these days all it has to show for it is a mound of rubble. Some small, mud-brick houses still stand here against all the odds, their doorways secured with medieval peg locks and their walls painted with verses of the Quran.
Dakhlah:The oasis of Dakhla contains two small towns, Mut and Al-Qasr.
Al-Qasr: One of the must-see sights in Dakhla Oasis is the extraordinary medieval/Ottoman town of Al-Qasr, which lies on the edge of lush vegetation at the foot of the pink limestone cliffs that mark the northern edge of the oasis. It’s an extraordinary place that has been thoughtfully restored to provide a glimpse of how other oasis towns looked before the NewValley development projects had their way with them. Several hundred people still live in the town that not so long ago was home to several thousand.
Mut: At the centre of the oasis lies the town of Mut, settled since Pharaonic times (Mut was the god Amun’s consort). Although now a modern Egyptian town, it has the most facilities in the area and makes the most convenient base for travelers. Mut’s wide boulevards and the proximity of the palm groves all help to give it some charm, while the remains of the ruined old town show how it must have once looked.
Kharjah:The closest of the oases to the NileValley, Al-Kharjah used to have the unenviable role as a place of banishment for mischievous NileValley citizens. Its remote location, punishing summer heat and destructive winds mean the oasis was synonymous with misery and exile. It may seem strange then that its chief town, Al-Kharga, was chosen as the capital of the NewValley Governorate in the 1950s. Life in the oasis has improved somewhat since then, and with a smattering of fascinating ancient sites it’s a worthwhile stopover. Lying in a 220km-long and 40km-wide depression, Al-Kharga Oasis was at the crossroads of vital desert trade routes, including the famous Darb al-Arba’een (Forty Days Rd). Al-Kharga’s influential location brought it great prosperity, and the arrival of the Romans improved things as wells were dug, crops cultivated and fortresses built to protect caravan routes from attacking desert nomads. Even as late as the 1890s British forces were using lookout towers here to safeguard the ‘back door’ into Egypt. Today, attempts at modernizing Wadi el-Gedid (the NewValley) with environmentally questionable land-reclamation efforts and intensive agriculture pose a bigger threat to the area than pillaging clans ever did.
Luxor:Built around the 4000-year-old site of Thebes, the ancient capital of the New Kingdom, contemporary Luxor is an eccentric combination of provincial town and staggering ancient splendor. The concentration of monuments is extraordinary: they tower incongruously above the buzz of everyday life and make this a most compelling destination.(To Zoom Ctrl+ - To Enlarge, Click on Pictures)