Dakhla Oasis , is one of the seven oases of Egypt's Western Desert. Dakhla Oasis lies in the New Valley Governorate, 350 km from the Nile and between the oases of Farafra and Kharga. El Dakhla was the capital of the Oasis region during the Pharaonic period. Today, El Dakhla is one of the most wonderful oases in Egypt with many remarkable monuments, natural scenery, and a large collection of Bedouin handicrafts being sold around the oasis. The same as the rest of the Egyptian oasis located in the Western Desert of Egypt, the Dakhla Oases is situated inside a depression, which is bordered to the North with an impressive scrap and it is open towards its Eastern and Western edges.
The first European traveller to find the Dakhla Oasis was Sir Archibald Edmonstone, in the year 1819. He was succeeded by several other early travellers, but it was not until 1908 that the first egyptologist, Herbert Winlock, visited Dakhla Oasis and noted its monuments in some systematic manner
Dakhla Oasis consists of several communities, along a string of sub-oases. The main settlements are Mut (more fully Mut el-Kharab and anciently called Mothis), El-Masara, Al-Qasr, Qalamoun, together with several smaller villages. Some of the communities have identities that are separate from each other. Qalamoun has inhabitants that trace their origins to the Ottomans.
Among the sixteen villages in the Dakhla Oasis, the Village of Mut is the largest and the most important, with more than 100,000 inhabitants living in village, which was transformed gradually into becoming more of a city other than a village today. the most important touristic attraction in the city of Mut is the spa of the Bir Talata, or Well number Two, located about two kilometers away from the center of the town. The water of Bir Talata is rich with iron and sulfur which helps in curing many illnesses and they come from a depth that reaches 1000 meters from the underground.
Situated 20 kilometers to the North of Mut, Al Qasr is among the most interesting villages in the Dakhla Oasis because it hosts a number of remarkable monuments. The narrow lanes of Al Qasr have some of the ancient Islamic houses with doors decorated with acacia wood with the name of the owner or the constructor of the house being carved. Occupying the center of the Village of Al Qasr, there is the minaret of Sheikh Nasr El Din Mosque. Dating to the Ayyubid period, during the 11th and the 12th centuries, nothing remains of this valuable monument except for its 21 meters height minaret.
Deir El Hagar, or the Stone Monastery, lies to the North of the City of Mut near the historical necropolis of Al Muzwaqa and it is among the most important historical sites of El Dakhla Oasis. This Temple was constructed during the ruling period of Nero in the middle of the 1st century AD and it was dedicated to the Holy Theban Triad, the gods Mut, Amun Re, and Khonsu.
The Village of Bashindi is featured with its mud brick houses that are finely decorated and colorfully ornamented the fact that made it among the touristic attractions of El Dakhla Oasis. There is an Islamic cemetery inside the Village of Bashindi and it is dominated by the impressive mausoleum of Sheikh Bashindi, the founder of the village, and there is also a necropolis dating back to the Roman ruling period.
The Village of Balat is located to the Northeast of Bashindi and its medieval district is of significant importance from the historical and architectural aspects, The village of Balat is famous the most for hosting two of the most important archeological sites in the Western Desert; the Qila El Dabba Necropolis and Ain Asil, the capital of the Oases in the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt. These both important historical sites were excavated and studied by the French Institute of Oriental Archeology with the collaboration of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
In the Qila El Dabba Necropolis, archeologists were able to unearth some Mastaba style tombs constructed with mud bricks and which belonged to the rulers of the Oases and their families in the 6th dynasty. The Necropolis of Al Muzwaqa means, in the Arabic Language, the wonderfully decorated tombs and it is located to the North of Mut near the Temple of Deir El Hagar. This important historical necropolis was discovered in 1908 by the American archeologist, Herbert Winlock during his excavation missions in the Western Desert of Egypt. This necropolis consists of around 300 rock hewn tombs with most of them not yet unearthed or studied. The Necropolis of Muzwaqa is mostly famous for two tombs; the tomb of Petosiris and the tomb of Petubastis and both tombs have finely preserved wall paintings.
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