A visit to Siwa, the land of peace

The Daily News Egypt - - Front Page -

560 ki­los far away from he hec­tic, over­crowded grey city of Cairo, the heaven of peace, calm­ness, clear air ex­ists. Few hours ride sep­a­rates peo­ple from Cairo, the city of the pol­lu­tion, noise and stress and re­place them with green­ery scener­ies, fresh air and iso­la­tion in Siwa.

Siwa Oasis in Egypt’s western desert is lo­cated near Egyp­tian Libyan board­ers. With bare signs of mod­ernised life, res­i­dents of Siwa still live in ba­sic sim­ple homes where they feel earth con­nected. Sim­plic­ity, is the main theme con­trol­ling Siwa.

The road to Siwa takes an av­er­age of 10-12 hours in bus with three half an hour stops in be­tween. Usu­ally, most trav­el­ling agen­cies trips kick off at night in or­der to ar­rive the next day early morn­ing.

The oasis has sev­eral ho­tels, from fancy ones to sim­ple clean hos­tels where one can spend a night what can reach a EGP 100. Most of prices range from 300 to 850, ac­cord­ing to sea­son and va­cancy.

Win­ter is con­sid­ered the best sea­son to hit Siwa. With a weather closely sim­i­lar to Luxor and Aswan, Cairo’s most freez­ing days are just sweet warm days of Siwa with a light breeze in the morn­ing.Yet, night comes bring­ing the desert’s cold soul to its res­i­dence, which is the best weather for a fire camp.

His­tory curved its events on the land of the oasis, necrop­o­lis be­long­ing to 26th dy­nasty with pharouhs mum­mies’ re­mains were dis­cov­ered at Siwa and up to the time of Alexan­der the great­est landed in it com­ing from Alexan­dria.

As many ar­eas lo­cated far away from the city cen­tre, Siwa’s res­i­dents have their own cul­ture and tra­di­tion re­gard­ing, mar­riage, giv­ing birth and even death.

Women of Siwa are rarely seen walk­ing down the street, and in case of ur­gently needed to, they are to­tally cov­ered with black blan­kets to strangers. How­ever, if a woman is lucky enough to get to see them in their tra­di­tional cos­tumes, their hair are al­ways braided from root to end in very small rasta braids, and their eyes are at­trac­tively drawn with liq­uid kohl.

As it was fea­tured in last sum­mer’s TV se­ries, “Wa­het ELGhoroub” (The Sun­set oasis), the oasis is closed to its own peo­ple and strangers might have a hard time fit­ting in the so­ci­ety.Yet, they are never met with any­thing but warm smiles and wel­comes by peo­ple and al­ways of­fered to re­ceive help in case they need any.

Peo­ple are ex­tremely friendly in Siwa, in a weird com­bi­na­tion that is rarely found, they don’t let peo­ple in as a part of their so­ci­ety, yet they wel­come them and never hes­i­tate in mak­ing them feel home.

Get­ting lost is al­most an im­pos­si­ble thing in the Oasis, as a per­son who look dif­fer­ent that them, feel­ing that you might need help would make them all of­fer their help to com­fort peo­ple.

The small nar­row city is full of must visit place. Shali, the old town is usu­ally the first stop for tourists in or­der to ex­plore the his­tory of the an­cient fortress of Siwa. Built with salt and mud bricks over the high­est nat­u­ral rock of the area, peo­ple used to live in Shali watch­ing over the board­ers and pro­tect­ing their home­land.

Siwa is known to be the home­land of palms. Huge vi­cious lands of palms are one of the heav­enly scener­ies vis­i­tors get to watch from high hills. Also, nat­u­ral warm clear lakes are also a com­mon scene of the land of lakes.

Siwa is known for hav­ing med­i­cally treat­ing springs. The con­tin­u­ously re­new­ing springs are known to have cur­ing min­er­als that the body ab­sorbs that is be­lieved to treat body mus­cles and bones.

If you’re plan­ning to visit Siwa this win­ter, be cash pre­pared to shop for Egypt’s finest hand­made prod­ucts and salt lamps. Hand sewed cloths and scarves are sim­ply yet fas­ci­nat­ing de­signed as well as bags.

Nat­u­ral herbs are the best to get from the Oasis, the orig­i­nal strong taste of the herbs are un­likely to be found else where.

AS MANY AR­EAS LO­CATED FAR AWAY FROM THE CITY CEN­TRE, SIWA’S RES­I­DENTS HAVE THEIR OWN CUL­TURE AND TRA­DI­TIONS

The old town is usu­ally the first stop for tourists in or­der to ex­plore the his­tory of the an­cient fortress of Siwa

If you’re plan­ning to visit Siwa this win­ter, be cash pre­pared to shop for Egypt’s finest hand­made prod­ucts

Siwa is known for hav­ing med­i­cally treat­ing springs

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