Siwa Oasis

[S]iwa oasis is the only authentic oasis in Egypt where people live as their ancestors did. It is described as place with  300,000 palm trees, 70,000 olive trees and 300 freshwater springs.  This historical town stands on an isolated Oasis located in the Western Desert region of Egypt  between the Qattara Depression and the “Egyptian Sand Sea” in the Libyan Desert. nearly 50 km east of the Libyan border, and 560 km from Cairo. Siwa stretches for about 80 km from the East to the West. The small village of Zaytoon is located at its far eastern side and there is Al Maraqy on its western side. The length of Siwa,from south to north is up to 20 km.

 

Many small attached villages are linked to Siwa like Garet Om Al Saghir, Al Qattra, Al Bahrian, Satra, and Al Arg from the East side, and Al Lig, Al Maraqy, Om Esha, Dahabeuya, om Al Ghazlan, and Shyata from the west side.

[T]he oasis is one of the most isolated settlements in the country with 23.000 inhabitants mostly Berber speakers who speak a distinct language of the Berber family known as Siwi though nearly all Siwis speak Arabic as a second language and many can also speak some English. Siwa Oasis is a vast region of date palms and olive trees extending over the horizon, with villages surrounded by two large salt lakes. Palm trees and small farms dotted the landscape thanks to the copious supply of water by springs. Some springs become source of water for modern swimming pools.  Some of  them were build  in ancient
Roman Empire period and perfectly serves its purpose until our times. The most famous spring in Siwa is called Cleopatra Spring in which tourists and locals can enjoy refreshing swim. Pollution virtually does not exist since there is no industry in the villages and everything rely on agriculture products. There is very little traffic, which is a combination of donkey cart, bicycles, motorized carts and 4×4.

Population of Siwa

[A]re mostly Berbers who are the ethnic group indigenous to North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are distributed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Siwa Oasis and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River. The oasis has always been linked to the culture of the tribes who live in the Great Desert in the North West of Africa. The Siwa Oasis, along with the other oasis of Egypt and North Africa had formed a centre for camel convoys that used to travel between Morocco and the Nile Valley. Siwa was also influenced by the Senousi culture, until Mohamed Ali took control over Egypt and sent his army troops to regain the Egyptian authority over Siwa once again.

The inhabitants of Siwa still adhere to their old conservative habits and customs. The women of Siwa rarely go out of their homes and if they do they have to cover their faces with the famous traditional Siwa veil which covers the whole face of the woman only with a small opening at the end for their eyes. Moreover, only young unmarried ladies who are less than 17 years old are allowed to go out while married women rarely leave their houses. On the other hand, the men in Siwa wear the white Galabeya even the governmental employees have to wear this traditional dress code.

 

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