Fayoum Egypt | The biggest Oasis in the world | Al Fayoum Oasis
750 years ago, El Nabulsi described Fayoum as following
” Cool are the dawns; tall are the trees; many are the fruits; little are the rains”
Where is Fayoum Egypt Location?
Fayoum located about 100 km to the west of Cairo and covers a total surface of 4678 sq. Km. it comprises approximately 157 villages and 1565 very small villages(hamlets) with a population of more than 3,848,708 inhabitants. The capital of the governorate is El Fayoum and it is one of the most beautiful and fertile areas of Egypt. in addition, it includes two areas declared as protected by the Egyptian Government, Lake Qarun and Wadi Rayan National Parks.
The Fayoum is divided into six administrative centers
- Madinat al-Fayoum
- Yusuf al Siddiq
Egypt was divided into nomes (districts- governorates), and the number of nomes was different from time to time. The country was divided into 42 nomes, 20 in lower Egypt, and 22 in Upper Egypt. Faiyum was the twenty-first nome of Upper Egypt, Atef-Pehu (“Northern Sycamore”). Sh-d-y-t or Crocodilopolis was the capital of the nome.
The Fayoum is a vast depression dug in the limestone rock with a surface area of about 17.000 km², whose bottom lies 45 m below sea level and the surrounding relief rises 350 meters above sea level. This depression receives water from a branch of the Nile that was canalized in ancient times, now called Bahr Youssef.
This splits up into a dense network of secondary canals. To the north, a lake called Lake Qaroun spreads over 40 km in length and is 4 km wide at some points, thus covering about 200 km².
The Climate of Al Fayoum Egypt
Like most of Egypt, Fayoum enjoys a hot dry climate, and rarely rains in the winter the temperature ranges in the winter between 11 and 17 during the day, and 4 and 10 degrees at night in January, and the average annual rainfall is around 17 mm. We can easily say that its ideal weather makes it an all-year-round destination for weary urbanites and globe trotters alike.
Fayoum has something for everyone. Whether you are searching for answers to the universe’s biggest mysteries or simply want to spend your days off lounging and indulging in Egyptian cuisine classics.
The People of the Fayoum usually classify themselves into two main ethnic groups, a majority of Egyptians in towns and central areas, and a minority of settled “Bedouin” or Arabs in peripheral areas.
Best time to visit El Fayoum
- Through the winter to witness the bird migration
- October through April for hiking, trekking & sand-boarding
- For chilling out near the lakes: All year-round.
- September through July is the best time for fishing
The National Day
Fayoum celebrates its national day on the fifteenth of March every year. This day is the memory of resisting the English occupation during the 1919 revolution.
What is Fayoum Egypt known for?
Fayoum is not only famous as a fertile depression in Egypt’s Western Desert, its great Salt Lake, its rich green fields, and it’s unique pharaonic and Greco-Roman remains, but also home to three very different centers of pottery production.
- Kom Oshim specializes in decorated garden pots and other utilitarian ware
- Al-Nazla, ancient traditions are kept alive, as members of a single extended family continue to use millennia-old techniques passed down from generation to generation, hand-forming among other things their distinctive spherical water jars with amazing dexterity and speed.
- Tunis village, the establishment of a pottery school by a Swiss couple in 1990 led to a complete transformation, and the village now hosts more than twenty-five pottery workshops and showrooms, whose products are sold in Cairo, London, and New York.
Fayoum Egypt attractions
The Valley of the Whales is part of the WRPA (Wadi El-Rayan Protected Area) and it has also been added in 2005 to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List for its unique natural beauty and scientific significance. It has rare gigantic fossils of ancient whales and sharks proving that some 40 to 50 million years ago,
Wadi el-Hittan Fossil
The world’s only intact fossil of an early whale. the 18-meter-long Basilosaurus is considered the only fully complete fossil of its kind discovered so far in the world, with an intact skeleton revealing the creature’s tail spines for the first time. The fossils hint at the diversity of marine life in the area approximately 40 million years ago, which is now covered by desert.
Wadi El-Hitan Museum
Wadi El-Hitan Museum contains 406 skeletons of primitive kinds of whales in addition to the huge skeleton of the whale called the Lizard which was discovered in 2005.
- Wadi Rayyan Protected Area
Wadi El Rayan is located about 65 km southwest of Fayoum city and 80 km west of the River Nile. It is a natural depression in the western desert of Egypt, 42m below sea level.
consists of two lakes connected by Egypt’s only waterfall. Al Fayoum Oasis was declared a protectorate in 1989 to protect the area’s biological, geological and cultural resources.
Wadi Al Rayan covers 1759 km2 in the southern part of El-Fayoum. Wadi Al Rayan is famous for its waterfall area, four natural sulfur springs, and Fifteen species of desert plants. Also, Gabal Manqueer Al Rayan, where marine fossils and archeological remains are found.
Fayoum Pottery School
The 1980s witnessed a new chapter for a Swiss female and her husband after a short visit to Fayoum Oasis with some friends. She was inspired by an Egyptian engineer who design at Hatshepsut temple and Siwa Oasis, Dr. Hassan Fathy’s designs of using environment-friendly building materials to build some houses and buildings inspired the Swiss couple to build their house and potters studio in a domed-ceiling design.
the potter’s house encouraged others to build their houses in Tunis following the same pattern. The couple started to help the village kids to unearth their talents. Consequently, she established a pottery school. Today, the students of the Swiss lady, as some like to call it, represent a new generation of independent potters who reflect the interaction of man and his surroundings, each of them has his own studio and displays his / her pottery works in local and international exhibitions.
Gradually, the ordinary village turned into a reputable center of modern pottery and an open-air museum of both eco and traditional rural buildings, which attracted investors and entrepreneurs who began to provide the village with different facilities to meet the incessant demand in the place.
The Qarun Lake today, 45 meters below sea level, has a surface area of 214 square kilometers. It has a maximum depth of just over 8 meters (west of Golden Horn Island) and a volume of 800 million cubic meters. It is 42 kilometers long and 9 kilometers wide at its broadest point. About 370 million cubic meters of drainage water reach the lake annually.
The lake’s main water source is drainage from agricultural land, which enters through two major drains called El-Batts and El-Wadi.
This water has become increasingly saline as agriculture has intensified and the water is now more saline than seawater. Freshwater fish and invertebrates have largely disappeared and marine species have been introduced.
This lake is of international importance for wintering waterbirds including Black-necked Grebe, Podiceps nigricollis, and Northern Shoveller, Anas clypeata. A fruitful day can be spent here in El-Fayoum (1h30 driving distance from Cairo) seeing the numerous ancient sites including the small but excellent museum.
Pyramid of Hawara
The Pyramid of Hawara was made for Amenemhet III of the 12th Dynasty in ancient Egypt and is located about 9 kilometers east of the oasis of Fayoum. Amenemhet III was the sixth Pharaoh of the 12th dynasty of the Old Kingdom and reigned around 1850 B.C.
The Pyramid of Hawara was built out of brick stones and then coated with limestone. It is sometimes called the Black Pyramid. When it was still standing, the Pyramid of Hawara was a large structure that was 58 meters high and each side of the base of the pyramid was around 100 meters long.
The mortuary temple
The accepted theory until now has been that the labyrinth was the mortuary temple of Amenemhet III. labyrinth is a Greek word that Brugsh says is derived from the Egyptian name of this Hawara temple “elpa -rohunt” temple of the mouth of the lake” Herodotus who visited fayoum around the middle of the fifth century BCE writes:’ it has twelve courts all of them roofed, with gates exactly opposite on another”.
There are two different sorts of chambers half underground, half above ground. The roof was throughout of stone like the walls, and the walls were carved all over with figures; every court was surrounded by a colonnade, which was built of white stones exquisitely fitted together.
Pyramid of Meidum
The Meidum pyramid is located 80 km from Memphis. It is now called the fake pyramid because it lost the pyramid shape; all that remains is the core structure of the building. This pyramid represents the first known attempt at the construction of a “true” pyramid.
Still not known for sure if the builder is king Huni, the last king of the 3rd dynasty of Sneferu, the founder of the 4th dynasty. Most probably Snefru started the building and then abandoned the site to start a new one at Dahshur. Most probably it started as a step pyramid and then converted into a true pyramid. All that remains now is a three-stepped tower rising up from a hill of debris.
Mudawara Mountain; West Summit Medawara Mountain is located only a couple of hundred meters to the south of Wadi El Rayyan Road, just after it passes to the north of Al Fayom Lake.
It is about 150 km southwest of Cairo. You can park at the edge of the road, or some people actually drive across the desert to the base of the formation.
The Magic Lake
is named as such thanks to its mesmerizing waters, which change color depending on the time of day and amount of sun exposure it gets. Reaching its shores is just as fun as swimming in its magical waters, as this requires dune bashing the desert in a 4×4. Looking down at the lake from the top of the dunes is something of a surreal spectacle, with the calm water serving as a crystal-clear mirror reflecting the sky.
Waterwheels are considered an iconic landmark of the Fayoum. There are many water wheels in Fayoum oasis dating back to the Ptolemaic era. more or less 200 of them, the biggest water wheels are in Fayoum downtown.
A waterwheel is a machine for converting the energy from free-flowing water or falling water into different forms of power. The water wheel is consisted of a big wooden or metal wheel, with a number of blades or buckets arranged on the outside rim forming the driving surface.
Since the Greco-Roman era, these waterwheels have kept the Fayoum well-irrigated despite its irregular topography. The waterwheels are made of special white wood called (Azizy), some parts are made of Casuarina wood and it takes 7-10 days to be made. The largest waterwheel in Egypt is located in Basiouniya village 14 km east of Fayoum city. It rises 8 meters high and weighs more than 2 tons. This waterwheel is providing 88 feddans (37 Hectares) of cultivated lands with fresh water
On 21st December, the date that marks the Winter Solstice. On this day, shafts of sunlight enter the temple of Qasr Qaroun and illuminate the holy of the holies of the temple where statues of the god Sobek were placed and worshipped.
In the western corner of Fayom is located what’s called Qasr Qarun or the palace of Qarun. It is a Ptolemaic temple and is still well preserved. The temple is free from inscriptions except few and it has a maze of chambers, corridors, cellars, tunnels, stairways, upper rooms, of all sizes at different levels, and numerous nooks and crannies, making it a fascinating place to explore.
Around the temple are the ruins of Dionysias, a Greco – roman town and garrison, but the mostly mud-brick remains are not as well preserved as other ancient towns in the Fayoum.
- The Museum of Kom Oshim
- Karanis Museum
Islamic Monuments in Fayoum
- The Hanging Mosque
- The Mausoleum of Ali Al Ruby
- The Mosque of Qaitbay
Coptic Monuments in Fayoum
- Deir El-Malak Ghobrial
- Deir Al-Aza
Fayoum university was established officially in 2005 but before that, there were some faculties established in Fayoum as affiliated with Cairo University
- In 1975, the Faculty of Education was established
- The Faculty of Agriculture followed in 1976. Later
- in 1981, the Faculty of Engineering was established
- In 1983, a presidential decree was issued declaring the Fayoum Branch as an independent branch of Cairo University.
Faculties – Fayoum Egypt University includes 19 faculties and two institutes
- Social Service
- Dar Al-Ulum
- Tourism and Hotels
- Specific Education
- Computers and Information
- Early Childhood Education
- Nursing, Dentistry
- Physical Education and Al-Alsun
as well as two Institutes
- The Institute of Research and Strategic Studies for the Nile Basin countries
- The Technical Institute of Nursing and the Blended Learning Center
11 best hotels in Fayoum
- Zad El Mosafer
- Helnan Auberge Fayoum
- Tunis Village Chalet
- Tunis Tone
- Zaytona Lake View
- Byoum Vacation House
- Tunis Palace – Fayoum
- Tache Boutique Hotel Fayoum
- Earth house lake view studio
- New Panorama Resort
- Lazib Inn Resort and Spa
You can enjoy Fayoum attraction from Cairo with one of the Cairo Tours or you can have Private Day Tour To El Fayoum Oasis and Waterfalls. Do not forget to explore the Valley of the whales from Cairo and the Waterfalls of Wadi El-Rayan