Faiyum Oasis: The Heart-Shaped Hidden Garden of Egypt

In TV shows and movies, if an oasis is shown, it is usually either a mirage or some tiny pool of water next to a palm tree in the middle of the desert. We could be forgiven for thinking that all oases are like this – but we’d be wrong. Some oases are huge. Faiyum Oasis in Egypt isn’t just one small pool of water but a collection of many lakes and canals, as well as the fertile lands that surround them. Of course, this being Egypt, Faiyum Oasis isn’t just a site of natural beauty, it has its own fascinating history as well.

What is Faiyum Oasis?

Faiyum Oasis can be found to the west of the Nile, around 62 miles (100 kilometers) south of Cairo in Egypt. It is a basin in the desert that is between 490 and 656 square miles (1,270 km 2 and 1,700 km 2) in size, with its bottom laying around 150 feet (45 meters) below sea level.

Unlike most true oases, Faiyum Oasis doesn’t get its water from a spring or well. Instead, it gets its water from a channel of the Nile, the Bahr Yussef. The fertile lands of the oasis were formed by mud which was brought down and dumped by the Bahr Yussef. Several canals branch off from the river to irrigate the surrounding lands. The waters drain into the large saltwater Lake Moeris.

Besides the beautiful lakes and fertile agricultural land, Faiyum Oasis is famed for its great year-round climate, collection of water wheels, and various historical sites.

The Faiyum Oasis area of Egypt has supported human life for more than 8,000 years. (NASA Earth Observatory)

The Faiyum Oasis area of Egypt has supported human life for more than 8,000 years. ( NASA Earth Observatory )…

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