Bookmark and Share

Siwa



Siwa
Introduction

1. Ruins of Shali

2. Around Shali

3. The town

4. The oasis

5. Gebel al-Mawta

6. Alexander's oracle

7. Temple of Amon

8. Cleopatra's Pool

9. Gebel Dakrur

10. Tourist Festival

11. Fatnis Island

12. Alexander's Tomb

13. Birket Siwa

14. Birket Zeitun

15. Well of Abu Shuruf

16. Libyan sunset

17. Bir Wahed

18. Night images

19. Losing paradise?

Practicalities




















Open LookLex Encyclopaedia



Open the online Arabic language course







SIWA
Paradise disappearing?

Siwa, Egypt


Siwa, Egypt

Siwa, Egypt

There are so few tourists in Siwa, that you always notice if somebody leaves. This oasis, 300 km from the nearest settlement, remains a secret to most. Siwa's low number of tourists makes writing this article an ethical dilemma: More tourists, good hotels, and folklore for the visitors will for ever spoil what makes Siwa what it is.
The natural reason for Siwa's existence, is its being a depression, 18 metres below sea level. All over this old, historical oasis, you find natural wells where you can spot the bubbles coming up from 15 to 20 metres underneath you. Many of these wells are big enough for bathing, and the locals won't mind you doing that, either.
When in Siwa, enjoy the lack of luxury. You will eat in simple, but fair restaurants, that gives away food at criminally low prices. You stay in hotels that are clean, but basic. And you travel around the place on bikes with hard seats and one gear only. Siwa is not designed for hurrying.
You'll get help from the lovely locals to change your Western mind, even if you'll only meet men and children. When moving around this place, every child spotting you will stop, start waving, calling "Hello" over and over again. And there is nothing but friendliness to this. I once spotted a father teaching his two year old daughter to do this, helping her to wave her hand, and say "Hello" over and over again. Siwa is one of those rare places where people are open to strangers, but not corrupted or oriented towards exploiting a visitor.
Siwa, Egypt



By Tore Kjeilen