Bahariya Oasis

Bahariya Oasis

Bahariya Oasis is an oasis in Egypt. It is approximately 300 km away from Cairo and the least technologically advanced oasis in the country. Located in Giza Province, it has an art museum and the main agricultural products are guavas, mangos, dates, and olives.

There is also the ruin of a temple to Alexander the Great located within the Bahariya Oasis. It is believed by some Egyptologists that the Greek conqueror passed through Bahariya while returning from the oracle of Ammon at Siwa Oasis. Excavations of the Greco-Roman necropolis began in 1996. Approximately thirty-four tombs have been excavated from this area.

Bahariya consists of many villages of which Bawiti is the largest and the administrative center. Qasr is Bawiti's neighboring/twin village. To the east, about ten kilometers away are the villages of Mandishah and el Zabu. A smaller village called Aguz lies between Bawiti and Mandishah. Harrah, the eastern most village, is a few kilometers east of Mandishah and el Zabu. Hiez is the last village, but it may not always be considered as part of Bahariya because it is so far from the rest of the villages, about fifty kilometers south of Bawiti.

The people of the oasis, or the Wahati people ( meaning "of the oasis" in Arabic), are the descendants of the ancient people who inhabited the oasis, including Bedouin tribes from Libya and the north coast and other people from the Nile Valley.

The majority of Wahati people in Bahariya are of the Islamic faith. There are many mosques in Bahariya. The nature of social settings in the oasis is highly influenced by Islam.

Also, traditional music is very important to the Wahati people. Flutes, drums, and the simsimeyya (a harp-like instrument) are played at social gatherings, particularly at weddings. Traditional songs sung in rural style are passed down from generation to generation, and new songs are invented as well. Music from Cairo, the greater Middle East, and other parts of the world are now easily accessible to the people of the oasis.

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