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Qara Oasis

Qara Oasis

1. Town on the mushroom

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Town on the mushroom

Qara, Egypt

Photos: Lisbeth Glad

The original town of Qara was in reality a fortress, using the natural defense of the mushroom mountain, topped by the outer walls of the houses. Qara is sometimes called "Siwa of Yesterday", but yesterday is gone even here. The original town is all abandoned for typical shoebox houses down in the oasis.
Originally, there was only one entrance, and only one road running through it, roofed to keep it cool on hot days (which is most of the year).

Qara, Egypt

Qara has no facilities, but thanks to the hospitality of the locals, you won't go hungry or thirsty. Still, count on not sleeping here for the night.
Getting out here involves arranging your own transport from Siwa, or possibly from Marsah Matruh. Popular, but very bumpy and time consuming is crossing the desert one way (using the surfaced road usually for the return). The going rate for the whole trip appears to be something like E300-500.
A characteristic of Qara is the persistency of the sellers. You won't be left alone one second here, so how to handle this is all up to you.

By Tore Kjeilen