Al Kharga is located 232 kilometers to the South of Asyut, 550 kilometers to the South of Cairo. The oasis is located to the west of the Nile valley. The Kharga Oasis must be one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially at sunset; everything you see at this "green island in the middle of a yellow ocean of sand", is natural! Whether you are sleeping under the stars, or just relaxing between the high palm-trees, you will find a feeling of integration with the environment. The first time I saw the El-Kharga Oasis, a bright light came to my eyes and I could not overcome the emotion, even I wondered "what better place to go than El-Kharga Oasis?"
The Kharga Oasis, the capital of the governorate of the new valley, or Al Wadi Al Gadeed, in Egypt, hosted inhabitants since prehistoric times and it is still the most populated oasis of Egypt until today.It was an important transit point for the desert caravans since the period of the 12th dynasty (1786 BC – 1665 BC). This was a transition period in the Egyptian history when the Hyksos had control over Northern Egypt and the Pharos ruled over Southern Egypt and the Nubia. Also it was always considered the Southern and Western Gate of Egypt. It connected Egypt to Southern Africa through the forty days road.
The Temple of Hibis (Egyptian: Hebet meaning the plough), Persian. 6th century BCE, is the largest and most well preserved temple in the Kharga Oasis. Excavations were started out early during the 20th century. Hibis is the finest example of a Persian Period temple in Egypt. Its reliefs are very well preserved, owing to its burial in sand for many centuries. The temple contains a rich religious iconography and a wealth of theological texts in a very unusual style, perhaps the influence of a local style of art which until recent years has barely been studied. One large and unique wall-relief depicts a winged figure of Seth, god of the desert oases, with the head of a falcon. He is painted blue, a colour usually reserved for air deities and is fighting the serpent Apophis. Many deities are represented in the sanctuary and Min, another desert god, was also venerated here.
About 3km from the centre of el-Kharga and 1km north of the Temple of Hibis is the early Christian cemetery of Bagawat. Sprawling up the lower southern foothills of Gebel el-Teir, Bagawat is perhaps the oldest major Christian cemetery in the world and has become a main tourist attraction for Kharga Oasis. The cemetery consists of a vast expanse of domed mudbrick mausoleums and underground galleries dating back to the 4th century AD, which were built over the site of an earlier Egyptian necropolis of pit-graves. As a burial ground Bagawat appears to have been in constant use until the 11th century, although the mudbrick structures date only up to the 7th century. The architectural style of the 263 tomb-chapels varies from simple one-room structures to family mausoleums with ornate façades enhanced with faux columns and arches and domed roofs.
The Qasr el-Labeka was built by the Romans, yet largely implementing traditional building techniques. It was on the old caravan routes, and in its heyday the surrounding area was green and with water. Water was carried by an aqueduct that still stand, but which is silted up. It lies along a seasonal river (wadi) on an escarpment. The outer walls are 12 metres high and quite imposing. The location for this and the Ain Umm Dabadib is both part of the attraction and the reason why so few venture out here. The journey goes across real desert, and is only done by 4WDs, which arranged from tour operators in Kharga is expensive.
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