A visit to Siwa, the land of peace
560 kilos far away from the 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 EL-Ghoroub” (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.