Bahareya Oasis

Bahareya Oasis

Bahareya oasis has particular historical significance as it was a vital transit point for the Caravan tracks and the Nile Valley. It is also a treasure trove of great and important archeological finds of our times.

  • The Name Of The Bahareya Oasis

The name Bahareya was likely derived from the term Bahr, which means the sea in Arabic. The word more specifically related to the Mediterranean Sea and commonly to the Northern lands of Egypt in ancient times. The Egyptian Pharaohs gave the oasis the name ” Desdes” while the Romans called it “Parva” or the little oasis.
Bahareya oasis is approximately 370 km from Cairo, making it very much closer to the capital of Egypt compared to other remote oases like Siwa or Kharga. This is perhaps why numerous Carians and travelers who visit Cairo prefer to travel to the Bahareya if they want to try the taste of the Egyptian oasis culture.

  • The Location Of The Bahareya Oasis

Bahareya Oasis is approximately 370 km from Cairo, making it very much closer to the capital of Egypt compared to other remote oases like Siwa or Al Kharga. This is perhaps why numerous Carians and travelers who visit Cairo prefer to travel to the Bahareya if they want to try the taste of the Egyptian oasis culture.

The oasis features a large depression in the desert that’s 94 km long and 40 km wide. It also contains a number of huge mountains like Gebel Dist and Gebel Maghrafa, Gebel Ghurabi, and Gebel El Engleez ( or the English Mountain).

  • The History of The Bahareya Oasis

The earliest human settlement in the Bahareya Oasis, noted in history, was in the intermediate kingdom. The Bahareya Oasis started gaining commercial and political significance because of its position on the track of the trading caravans between the Nile Valley and the Western Desert and tribes in Libya.
The most flourishing period in the ancient history of the Bahareya Oasis was during the reign of the 26th Dynasty, specifically during the rule of Amasi when the ancient city of Psobthis, which was located in the heart of the oasis, turned the center of the trading routes of the Western Desert.

  • The Bahareya Oasis Features

The Bahareya Oasis is home to further than 30,000 people who primarily live in the four main towns of the oasis, Al Qaser (the ancient village in the Bahareya Oasis), Bawiti (the capital of the Bahareya Oasis), Mandisha, and Zabw. The area between Al Qaser and Bawiti contains a variety of mountains with numerous ancient necropolises just like the Necropolis of Qarat Subi and therefore the Abis necropolis of Qarat Feragi.
The Bahareya Oasis contains a variety of hot springs, like Bir Al Nebaga which is found in Bawiti, Bir Matar which is found further to the North. and Ain Bishmu, which dates back to Roman times,
At the Northernmost point of the Bahareya Oasis, there’s the small lake of Al Marun that’s girdled by places with numerous rare catcalls for raspberry-watching enthusiasts.

  • The Valley Of The Golden Mummies

In 1996, the well-known Egyptian archeologist and head of the supreme council of antiquities, Zahi Hawas, along with his crew, discovered a magnific, broad necropolis that dates back to the Roman period and it’s located 6 kilometers to the Southwest of Bawiti, the largest town of the Bahareya Oasis.
The digging work began in 1999 and they were qualified to prove that this necropolis was by far the most important burial location of the Romans in all of Egypt. This necropolis, in fact, contains hundreds of sepultures over a surface field of about 36 square kilometers. This stunning discovery caused news to be spread all over the world and made Al Bahareya Oasis famous, giving the oasis a new touristic dimension.
Dozens of mummies were found in perfect preservation state in the Valley of the Golden Mummies. Most of these mummies were mummified utilizing the old method, cartonnage. This method consisted of covering the face of the deceased with a mask made out of linen and plaster. This mask was also decorated with numerous colorful reliefs. The mouth and the eyes of the deceased were also painted on the mask to give a clearer image of his face.

The mummies of the Bahareya Oasis held the common Roman decoration that associated the traditional ancient Egyptian Pharaonic figures with colors associated with Roman mythology.
The valley of the golden mummies is believed to be one of the unique necropolises in all of Egypt.

  • The Muftella Temple In The Bahareya Oasis

Ain El Muftella is located 3 km west of Al Qaser at the exit point of the track that links the Bahareya to the Siwa Oasis.
This place contains four sanctuaries that were discovered by Ahmed Fakhry, the Egyptian archeologist that maintains credit for most of the discoveries taking place in the Egyptian Western Desert, in 1938-1939.
The four sanctuaries belong to the 26th dynasty, the last native dynasty to rule Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC. These sanctuaries are part of a temple complex constructed during the rule of Amasis, a Pharaoh (570 BC-526 BC) of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt, the successor of Apries at Sais, and the last great sovereign of Egypt before the Persian occupation.

The first sanctuary, which is the largest among the four, consists of two chambers that were decorated with beautiful reliefs which are well preserved until today. These reliefs contain illustrations of the Pharo Amasis making sacrifices to a series of gods that were largely deified within the oasis of Egypt.

  • The Tombs Of Qaser Salem In The Bahareya Oasis

Qaser Salem is located in the city of Bawiti and found on a small hill, and they hold two massively decorated tombs that date back to the 26th dynasty. The area itself had been discovered by Ahmed Fakhry in 1938.

The first tomb is dedicated to Zed-Amun-ef-Ankh, a rich merchant. The tomb contains a hypostyle burial chamber. supported by four pillars. This room is embraced by other undecorated chambers, that the Romans formerly utilized.
The second tomb is dedicated to Bannentui, the son of the rich merchant of the oasis Zed-Amun-ef-Ankh. Bannentui played a vital role as a priest. The tomb design of Bannentui is resembling that of his father, except for the detail of a fourth pillar. The two tombs contain rich decorations and ornamentations with religious scenes connected to the mortuary rituals and the numerous offerings represented to the gods.

  • The Muzzawaqa Necropolis In The Bahareya Oasis

The Muzzawaqa means ” perfectly decorated” in the Arabic Language. The Necropolis is located north of the city of goddess Mut. The location was discovered by Herbert E Winlock (An American archeologist) in 1908. The Muzzawaqa Necropolis contains further than 300 rock-hewn tombs. The most famous tombs in the Necropolis are dedicated to Petubastis and Petosiris who lived in the Bahareya Oasis during the 1st or 2nd century AD. The two tombs hold wide-ranging painted decorations that are perfectly preserved.

The two tombs hold all the main contents of ancient Egyptian tomb offerings to the deceased person, the procession of the funeral, and the deceased person, who was to be watched over by deities. yet, all of these scenes are painted in the Greco-Roman style.

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