Siwa Things to Do

  • me on top of Shali
    me on top of Shali
    by June.b
  • Things to Do
    by June.b
  • Things to Do
    by June.b

Most Recent Things to Do in Siwa

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    The Town

    by June.b Written May 9, 2012
    Siwa central on top of the rooftop cafe.
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    How would I describe the small town of Siwa? There's a quiantness in it in an old way, kind of dusty way. The main dusty road looks like a hollywood set of an old western movie - remember the "wild wild west"? This road is lined with ministores, restaurant, fruit store, a barbershop an internet shop, souvenir shops, clothing store, herbal medicine store, etc..

    Watchng the town on the rooftop cafe of the hotel, I felt like I'm in a different world, kind of old world. The town itself has little developments compared to other places in Egypt, and I think that makes this place special. It's like time stood still in Siwa. Donkey carts everywhere, makeshift tricycles, people walking in robes, no traffic of sort. It's like everybody knows everyone.

    A park right in front of the Shali Fortress and at the back of the main central road, and if you wander out of the main square, you'll be in some palm plantation and local communities. Donkey carts transporting hays, probably donkey or ponies feeds.

    The place is a bliss. If you like serenity, away from the material world -- this is the place.

    Beautiful town in simpler form.

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    The old mosque of Shali Fortress

    by June.b Updated May 9, 2012
    The Old Mosque of Shali
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    The best preserved part of the Shali Fortress is the old mosque which was built in 1203. Considered to be the oldest mosque built in "kershif", the same materials used to build the whole fortress.

    I heard the adhan (call to prayer) during the noontime I was standing at the top of the fortress and it's coming from this old mosque. Until today, the mosque is being used by the locals during prayer times. So don't go inside, unless you're a muslim planning to pray.

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    On top of the Shali Fortress.

    by June.b Written May 9, 2012

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    Don't content yourself watching the great medieval fortress from your hotel windows, it's lovelier when you're on the very top, the highest point of the Shali.

    The view up there is short of spectacular, 360 degrees of breath-taking views of its surroundings. I went up there on my second morning and reaching the top is a bliss. No one there, the whole fortress is mine and it's so serene if not for the scorching heat of the mid-day sun, I would've stayed a bit longer enjoying the views and the silence.

    No entry fee, just go up there!

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    Shali Fortress

    by June.b Written May 9, 2012
    Standing in the mid portion of the fortress
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    The ruins of the Shali fortress - a 13th century medieval city - was inhabited until the heavy rainfalls in 1926 that devastate the fortress.

    The materials used in building the fortress is called "Kershef" a combination of salt rocks and muds which can easily be ruined by heavy rains. The fortress is no longer inhabited but some of the bottom parts and the surrounding foot houses several families.

    I went up the hill upto the very top where it commands an amazing view of the whole town -- greens of palm (dates) plantations, the lake in the distance, the mountian of the dead, the mountian range on the horizon and the main town of Siwa. I was the only one wandering around until a couple appeared, so only 3 of us. And it was so peaceful up there on top of the Shali.

    The Shali is right at the center of Siwa so if you're staying in one of the hotels at the center, then you'll probably have a view of the fortress from your room window or the hotel's rooftop cafe.

    The Shali - towering all over the small town of Siwa - is impressive either looking at it from a distance day or night, or closely inspecting it. It was one of the off-the-beaten path sight that I was really impressed, at least one that is out of the big cities.

    It's beautiful and most of all - it's free - no entrance fee. It's lighted at night though not really bright lights, some greens and yellow lights.

    Go there early in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is not scorchingly hot esp. during summertime.

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    Temple of Umm Ubayda

    by June.b Written May 9, 2012

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    Few meters away from the Temple of the Oracle, is the Temple of Umm Ubayda -- which by the way is said to be a part of the whole complex. Nothing much left of the temple except for the reconstructed portion of a wall erected like a monument.

    You'll pass by this temple on your way to Celopatra's Bath and right after leaving the oracle temple.

    Just take a couple of pics and in a couple of minute am sure you'll be leaving the temple. Some human and hieroglaphics inscriptions on the wall and tumbled down huge pieces of blocks.

    No entry fee, it's an open-air monument.

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    Cleopatra's Bath

    by June.b Updated May 9, 2012
    Cleopatra
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    The Spring of Juba or popularly known as Cleopatra's Bath - although Cleopatra has nothing to do with this spring.

    Siwa has several springs but this one is the most popular amongst tourists. Formerly used by local brides as pool bath but nowadays it's more a dip for tourists. Fed by natural spring water, in fact there's a natural small pond nearby with palm trees surrounding it but that one is not suitable for bathing with murky water (pic 5).

    Some people are swimming on the pool when I pass by there, but it looks to me like it isn't really clean, I saw a can of soda at the bottom of the pool. When I asked a couple of local guys sitting few meters from the pool, they said it's clean because the water comes from a spring with the presence of bubbles coming from below going to the surface and it has some therapeutic purpose or health benefits.

    Cleopatra's Bath is very touristic with the presence of restaurant, shisha cafe and a bar serving expensive drinks - surrounding one side of the round pool. Several tourists sitting on lounges and chairs beside the pool like they're infront of the beach. I find it a little awkward.

    The bath is not one of the best highlight of Siwa, but good to pass by and see it after seeing the Temple of the Oracle.

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    Temple of the Oracle

    by June.b Updated May 9, 2012
    Temple of the Oracle
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    After the Mountain of the Dead, my next stop is the Temple of the Oracle.

    It is actually the temple of Amun but after the visit of Alexander the Great, it is now popularly known as the Temple of the Oracle. The oracle became famous during the Greek and Roman periods.

    Written at the entrance - this temple is dedicated to the cult of Amun "Lord of Counsels" during the reign of Amasis (570 - 525 BC) and was visited by Alexander the Great in 332/1 BC.

    It was said that Alexander consulted the Oracle to seek confirmation that he was indeed the son of Zeus. Although it is also said that prior to Alexander, there are other important historical figures who also consulted the Oracle.

    The Oracle is reputed to have cursed Andromeda and she was tied to a rock to be devoured by a sea-serpent. Perseus is said to have visited the Oracle prior to beheading Medusa, and Hercules is thought to have visited it before he fought Bursiris. (Source: Touregypt.net)

    The temple sits on top of a rock mountain which according to experts are slowly deteriorating. There's a small village down below the temple, women and children selling souvenir stuff.

    Entry Fee = EGP25, Students pay 10.

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    Mountain of the Dead

    by June.b Written May 9, 2012
    tombs at the mountian of the dead
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    I arrived in Siwa very early in the morning so after dropping my backpack at the hotel, I immediately went out. At the intersection road I saw the same tricycle driver I took from the bus station to the hotel. He offered to take me to the highlight sights of Siwa, so I hired him for a couple of hours at EGP35.

    The nearest sight from central Siwa is the Mountain of the Dead. Go up the stairs to get to the ticket booth.

    Entry Fee = EGP25, Bring a Student's ID and you pay EGP10 only.

    They call it the mountain of the dead because the whole lump of rock hill with another mushroom-shaped rock on top is actually a necropolis. Tombs dating back to Ptolemaic and Roman periods are cut on the rock mountain, they're like holes of caves and there are several of them (see pics).

    Most holes or caves are empty but there are some big ones which have inscriptions and elaborate drawings. The guard can show you the insides of some tombs for a small baksheesh.

    Climb up to the top of the hill to get a nice view of the whole mountain, the palm trees, the town below and the lake.

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    Walking throught the Desert of Siwa to shyatah lak

    by mahamihoo Updated Aug 31, 2009

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    Our Route on foots
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    Hey, me and some friends of me decided to make desert tours on foots around the Siwa oasis.
    We start with taking the way to Shyatah on foots (more than 17 Km).
    And then to Beer Wahid cold spring (11 Km)
    It was a fantastic adventure to do and a great challenge to be achieved

    Here I am putting the experience and photo of us

    Any information I can provide?

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    Desert walking tours around the oasis

    by mahamihoo Updated Aug 31, 2009

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    our route on foots in light blue and green
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    Hey, me and some friends of me decided to make desert tours on foots around the Siwa oasis.
    We start with taking the way to Shyatah on foots (more than 17 Km).
    And then to Beer Wahid cold spring (11 Km)
    It was a fantastic adventure to do and a great challenge to be achieved

    Here I am putting the experience and photo of us

    Any information I can provide ?

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  • Walking throught the Desert of Siwa

    by ahmedkamal Written Jul 1, 2007

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    http://www.graaam.com/up/p7ic/f405507e27.jpg
    This is the second major documented adventure my colleagues in Siwa and I make (for those who did not receive the details of the first trip, you can ask), only this time we were 4 persons; our Italian project manager joined us this time, and he is a great hiker.
    Trip details:
    - Gathered at our house in Siwa, our manager collected us by car at 4:40 AM
    - Drove by car to a small village called Bahey El-Din 26 km away from Siwa
    - Reached the end of the asphalt road 1.5 km at the edge of the village at 5:00 AM
    - Started our walk at 5:15 AM in total darkness for 20 minutes until the light of dawn came out. We headed west with little degrees to the north
    - Reached our destination after 17 km walk: we kept together till the final 5 km then splitted; I came first at 10:05 AMthe one in the red shirt arrived , the second at 10:25 AM, the 2 other members arrived at 10:45 AM
    - We met team 2 – who arrived there at 9:30 by safari car mainly to prepare our lunch and to drive us back to where we left our car.

    Enjoy the Pictures

    http://www.graaam.com/up/p7ic/4dc33f592c.jpg

    was about 5:40 AM and we already walked about 1.5 km

    http://www.graaam.com/up/p7ic/0b2d058d88.jpg
    Our first stop for water and a snack
    http://www.graaam.com/up/p7ic/05fe2e20b9.jpg
    On the edge of a little mountain… the real journey begins
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    No comment

    http://www.graaam.com/up/p7ic/b7eed1fb59.jpg
    The second rest

    http://www.graaam.com/up/p7ic/b65d89debe.jpg
    At last after 10 km walk, our destination appeared ahead… but wait, it is still 5.5 Km away

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  • Archaeology and swimming

    by juvisawa Written Nov 30, 2006

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    The first thing you will see is the old town of Siwa called Shali because it is in the towncenter.
    Today it is in ruins. The reason for this is, that all the old houses were build only by mudbricks. Normally, there is nearly no rain here, but in 1926 there were rains for days and therefor the houses were destroyed. After this event, the people built new houses around this area. In the night it is lightened, so it looks very nice for pictures.
    Mountain of the Dead
    It lies appr. one kilometre north of the towncenter in the direction of Marsa Matruh. The small hill looks like a swiss cheese, because of all the holes inside. They were used as tombs for the rich people in ancient egypt. Even today you can see paintings and also mummies, that are only centimetres away from your camera lenses. There are some people taking care of the site, they will also guide you around.
    Aghurmi
    This small village lies 3 km east of Siwa town at a good tarmac road. Here you can find the Temple of the Oracle, where Alexander the Great got his allowance to be pharoah of egypt. From here you have a good view over the oasis.
    A few hundred metres south of this place there are the ruins of the Temple of Amun. not so much to see, only some stones lying around.
    If you go further south, you´ll reach Cleopatra´s bath. It is a warm spring with a big basin, where you can have a swim. A little bit difficult for women, because the men of the oasis also use this for a bath.
    Fatna´s spring is also a good opportunity to get a bath in a warm spring (easier for women), but it is smaller. It is also a good place to see the sunset and have a good tea. To reach this place you first have to go to the main street that goes to Marsa Matruh; then follow this street in the opposite direction to the south. There is only one big divide of the street, you have to go slightly right and follow the road for 4 km until it ends in a date garden; then the place is only 200 m straight away on a dirty track. This is made best with a car or a bicycle.

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    desert safari trips

    by mahamihoo Written Jul 29, 2006
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    Sayed Abu Seif offers real cultural tours to the Egyptian Western Desert. The Oasis specialized tours are designed to explore the Egyptian desert life and the ancient lands, where various aspects of life are observed within the Bedouin traditions. All our itineraries are developed and operated to reach a unique social environment with the natives & locals. Get to know the inhabitants of the wild Egyptian Western Desert. All Oasis products give you the chance to blend with Bedouins. Enjoy a mixture of daily activities, Leisure City tours (natural springs and primitive museums) and historical excursions. Experience the real Bedouin Flavor while visiting local houses. Enjoy the Desert Delight (music and folkloric dance) in real Bedouin nights hosted by local families.

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    Shali

    by wwroam Written Mar 15, 2006

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    shali

    Built in 1203, the mudbrick village of Shali was abandoned in 1926 after heavy rains. Since many of the houses in Siwa don't have roofs...well it practically never rains, the folks were ill prepared for the consequences. If your're not getting enough exercise, you can walk the old streets. The city is illuminated at night and it is eerily beautiful

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    Mountain of the Dead

    by wwroam Updated Mar 15, 2006

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    View from the Mount

    North of the town lies the Mountain of the Dead , a rock hill containing tombs from the Ptolemaic period.Entry to some of the more intact tombs can be made ( no photography). Great views of the countryside can be found at the top.

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Siwa Things to Do

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