Farafra Oasis is the least populated oasis of the Western Desert, with approx. 10,000 inhabitants. There is ubiquitous peace and quiet here, and life is concentrated in the oasis capital of Qasr Al Farafra, whose main attraction is a fortress from Roman times.
The Farafra Oasis from a bird's eye view resembles a large triangle. It is located halfway between the Bahariya and Dahla oases, in the second largest depression of the Western Desert (200 km long and 90 km wide). To encourage people to settle in the oasis of Farafra, the Egyptian government provides new residents with many benefits, including free access to water and electricity for the first few years. The main occupation of the inhabitants is the cultivation of olives, dates and figs.
Qasr Al Farafra
Qasr Al Farafra hosts the main tourist attractions in this oasis, including the most important - the ruins of the fortress. From the hill on which the ruins are located, there is a view of the city and the surrounding date groves and desert. The fortress was built in the Roman Period (1st century BC - 4th century AD), when a series of forts were built in the area to guard the ancient caravan route leading to other oases and the Nile Valley. The fortress was constantly expanded in the Middle Ages and ultimately, the walls surrounding it were over 10 meters high. Inside, there were 125 rooms for residential, economic and administrative purposes. Unfortunately, as the fortress was built from mud, bricks and stone it was susceptible to water. Heavy rains in the 1950s caused many of the walls to simply flow down the hill. Nevertheless, some rooms of the fortress are still inhabited. A constant supply of water is provided to residents by a nearby well.
The city comes alive every Thursday. In the morning, at the foot of the fortress, there is a market where you can buy vegetables, fruit, clothes, baskets, and many other items. In the evening the market is replaced by a Sufi dance show.
Qasr Al Farafra area
6 km northwest of Qasr Al Farafra is the Bir Sitta spring. Warm, and even hot water (over 38 degrees Celsius) is directed into a concrete pool where you can take a bath. The water is slightly red in color due to the high iron oxide content. 10 km north of the city is the White Desert, which is one of the main destinations for tourists coming to the Oasis of Farafra. About 70 km north of Qasr Al Farafra is the Hidden Valley (Wadi El Obeiyid), where you can find fossils of prehistoric animals and plants. In the eighth millennium BC there was a lake here, on which there was a settlement. According to archaeologists, this may be the earliest settlement site in the Western Desert.
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