Egypt travel guide




Siwa Travel Guide

Siwa History

Siwa is very mysterious of all the oases in Egypt, is also the most spectacular and fascinating. In his history has not only been shaped by all major civilisations, but also by the contrast of the surrounding desert with the lush soil of the oasis setting. Siwa, like the other Western Oasis, has had several names over the millenniums. It was called Santariya by the ancient Arabs, as well as the Oasis of Jupiter Amun and Marmaricus Hammon.

However, although the oasis is known to have been settled since at least the 10th millennium BC, the earliest evidence of connection with ancient Egypt is the 26th Dynasty, when a necropolis was established. The ancient Egyptian name of Siwa was Sekht-am (meaning "palm land").

Actually, It is believed to have been occupied as early as Neolithic and Paleolithic times, one assumes that it was the capital of an ancient kingdom that may have included Bahrein, Qara and Arashieh. However during the Old Kingdom of Egypt, it was a part of Tehenu, the Olive Land that may have extended as for east as Mareotis.

Also, the Siwa Oasis has little in common with the other Western Oasis. Normally the Siwan people are mostly Berbers, the true Western Desert indigenous people, who once roamed the North African coast between Morocco and Tunisia. They have their own culture and customs and, as well as speaking Arabic, speak own Berber (Amazigh) language. Women still wear traditional costumes and silver jewellery.

Actually, the modern city of Siwa is set among walled gardens, thick palm groves and olive orchards, with several freshwater springs and salt lakes. The city of Siwa also clusters beneath the impressive remains of the ancient fortress city of Shali. But almost nothing is known of the Siwa Oasis during Egypt's ancient history. It was not until the beginning of the 26th Dynasty that there was any evidence that Siwa was infact part of the Egyptian empire.

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