Egypt travel guide




Fayoum Travel Guide

The City of Fayoum

The main city in the oasis is situated 85 km south of Cairo, 75 km from Giza Pyramids & 105 km from Cairo Airport. Its name is probably derived from ‘Fayoum’ meaning water. The oasis of Fayoum is about 1,270 km², and irrigated by the Yusuf Canal, first constructed 3,500 years ago, bringing in water from the Nile. The city of Fayoum also has its own springs, but these contribute only a small part of the total water used in the oasis.

About 70,000 years ago the Nile flood first broke through the low mountains which surround the large city of Fayoum depression and formed lake Qaroun and the surrounding marshes and also the main Lake Qarun has a surface area of 234 km² & is 45 metres below sea level. It had freshwater in ancient times, but it has now saltwater. Surplus water has since 1966 been pumped from Qarun to the Wadi Rayan, where 2 large lakes have been formed.

The town of Fayoum is a administrative centre and market for its region. With approx 1,000 of the total 1,827 km² cultivated and the abundance of water, also the local agriculture is one of the most fertile in Egypt, producing rice, hemp, cotton, flax, peaches, oranges, roses, pomegranates, figs, grapes and olives. The raising of sheep and poultry, fishing (in both Lake Qarun and the lakes of Wadi Rayan) and the making of a rose attar which is used for perfumes.

The town of Fayoum has good connections to other urban centres, usually because of the desert bound highway running north to Cairo and south past Assyut. The town of Fayoum is linked with the Nile Valley by road to Beni Suef, and rail to al Wasta.

Fayoum is dominated by the Yusuf Canal which flows through it and also the city of Fayoum surrounds the canal as a modern town with buildings and blocks rising as high as 14 storeys. Also in the centre of the town there are still examples of the old water wheel system with buckets, raising water to irrigation channels.

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