The Kharga Oasis is the southernmost of the three oases located in the New Valley in Egypt’s Western Desert. At one time, the Kharga Oasis was home to a vast lake that drew people from all around and who chose this as their place to live. However, over time, the lake dried up and all that is left is a sandy, clay and sandstone depression in the earth.
Despite the fact that the Kharga Oasis does not get much rain, it is still a favored place to live and many people are choosing to buy homesteads in the oasis. The inhabitants of the area include modern Egyptians who are choosing to move to the oasis as well as the descendants of the Nubian settlers who first inhabited the land.
The Brief History of the Kharga Oasis
There is a great deal of interesting history to be found in Kharga Oasis. The first thing to note is the main path through the oasis is the route between Luxor and Farshut, and it was well traveled in the past, as well as now.
While there are some notations dating all the way back to the Old Kingdom that reference the oasis, there has been little historical evidence of the oasis’ ancient past. The most history to be found in the oasis dates to the Intermediate Period. Two temples were built during this period: Temple of Hibis and Temple of Nadura. Both of the ruins still stand today and can be viewed by visitors.
Additionally, during the period of Roman occupation, the oasis became home to numerous fortresses. The ruins of some of these fortresses still inhabit hills throughout the oasis and can be toured.
The oasis was a one point a critical part of the trade route known as the “40 Day Road, and it was also the last stop on the notorious slave trade route. The are has been under control of the Egyptians; Persians and Romans during it’s ancient history.
The area is also home to the fascinating Necropolis of Al-Bagawat containing nearly 300 mud brick chapels. Some of the other important sites to see in the oasis include the following:
- Aim Shams el-Din (a Coptic Christian Church)
- Gebel el-Teir (these rocks include ancient inscriptions that can still be seen)
- Temple of Qasr Dush
- Temple of Nadura
- Temple of Hibis
- Deir Mustafa Kashef (a Coptic Christian Monetary)
- El Bagawat (a Christian cemetery and church)
Getting to the Kharga Oasis in Sahara
There are two main routes to take through Kharga Oasis: the northern caravan route and the southern route. Most tourists choose to take the northern route as it provides access to the most ancient sites. This route is often referred to in Egypt as the 40 days road.
Many of the sites worth viewing in the oasis are fairly far off the main road. If you wish to see them, then your best option would be to hire a private tour guide or choose one of Egypt desert tours.