Siwa Oasis

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Siwa has been known for the oases and historical sites.  Being in Siwa is like being in an ancient time with donkeys everywhere, houses made by stones and clay, people are conservative, and there were girls dressed in long colorful silk dresses whenever they have an event.  Even if Siwa is almost 10 hours away from Cairo by land, there were lots of tourists like the Japanese whom I saw during our stay, there were few buildings and stores built for the tourists, and a lot of Siwi can speak English.

On our first night we stayed with the accommodating Egyptian linguist father married to a beautiful German, with 2 smart boys.  They boys were homeschooling  using the German curriculum, assisted by their German tutor who lives with them.

On the succeeding nights we were with our Asian and Egyptian friends.  Though food is really cheap especially their main products like dates which is known as the best dates in Egypt & olives, I still have hesitations of eating in the restaurants because I am not familiar with the place.  I’m not confident on how they prepare the food.

Observing the sunset on the lakeshore, sand surfing, attending a Siwi gathering with a group of men singing in Berber, eating the traditional chicken cooked by burying under the ground, discovering the Ancient Fortress of Shali, mountain of the dead, ancient historical temples, different rock formations, sculptures made of salt and the oases were  truly marvelous.

The Siwa Oasis (Arabic: واحة سيوة‎ Wāḥat Sīwah, Siwi Isiwan) is an oasis in Egypt, located between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Libyan Desert, nearly 50 km (30 mi) east of the Libyan border, and 560 km (348 mi) from Cairo.[1][2][3]km (50 mi) in length and 20 km (12 mi) wide,[1] Siwa Oasis is one of Egypt’s isolated settlements, with 23,000 people, mostly ethnic Berbers[1] who speak a distinct language of the Berber family known as Siwi. Its fame lies primarily in its ancient role as the home to an oracle of Amon, the ruins of which are a popular tourist attraction which gave the oasis its ancient name Ammonium. Historically, it is part of Ancient Libya. Its modern name Siwa, first attested in the 15th century (earlier Arab geographers termed it Santariyyah), is of uncertain origin. Basset [4] links it to a Berber tribal name swh attested further west in the early Islamic period, while Ilahiane,[5] following Chafik, links it to the Tashelhiyt Berber word asiwan, a type of prey bird, and hence to Amon-Ra, one of whose symbols was the falcon.

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