The oasis - still a traditional place
As you think about an oasis you imagine a big, dry desert in which suddenly a few palm trees and a spring appear. But geologically seen
an oasis is just a whole in the desert s surface. Underneath the Sahara exist huge amounts of fossil water and within an oasis they come out whether as artesian wells or man made springs after just a few meters of
digging. Now plants are starting to grow. Settlements are founded. They grow and some of them become quite big. But not all survive. Their chances are depending completely on the amount of water underneath the
sand. After it is used up, people leave the place. After a few years the only things you see are some single palm trees, graves, pottery and some remained parts of houses. In the Western Desert you find a lot of
this silent witnesses, reaching down till roman times. Beside this, stone tools and paintings from prehistoric times are also found. This and fossils like shells, shark teeth and petrified food are proofs that the
deserts was not always lives enemy as it seems to be today.
Baharia, the northern oases
Baharia consists of 8 villages. All together they have around 30.000 inhabitants.
The villages are separated by large desert plains as e.g. the Black Desert. Some of them, e.g. El Haiz, are nearly untouched by tourism and you feel as on a
journey back in time. Bawiti is the capital of Baharia. Hear you find the heartbeat of the oases.
Along main street there are a lot of small shops, cafes and a lot of people. The
inhabitants of Baharia are friendly and polite people, who treat each other with respect. They also expect to be treated respectfully. As you leave main street
you get an impression of the oasis’ life as it is since hundreds of years without making big changes. Still you find a lot of mud brick
buildings. They are cold in summer and warm in winter time. The people of Baharia are still taking their traditions serious, and so it
can easily happen, that you are invited for tea, if you walk through the old city.
At the edge of the old city you find the big gardens. Here they grow lemon,
oranges, apricot, rice, vegetables and delicious grapes. But the main product is dates. You find them in abundance. And during September and October you
can pick them right from the palm trees. Taking a walk across the gardens is a must for each visitor. A further speciality of Baharia are the hot springs. The
oldest one, El Beshmo, has a temperature of about 55Â°c. Rather hot for a bath, but there are others, which are very well suiting for a bath. There is some
springs a little bit outside, where also women can have a bath.
From this time you find archaeological sites like tombs and temples. And after a
few years ago the golden mummies of Baharia were found, it was proofed, that Baharia was an important place in the old times. Even today the large palm tree gardens and the variety of crops are impressing.
You will find nearly everything:
Desert, gardens, springs, archaeological sites and last but not least: the unforgettable kindness and
the warm hearted hospitality of the Baharian people!