The Fayoum Oasis
One of the most outstanding oases in Egypt is the Fayoum Oasis. It has its importance in agriculture since prehistoric times. The name of the Fayoum is from the Coptic language “Peiom” which means the sea. The Fayoum Oasis is an artificial oasis that was built by a depression in the desert west of the Nile Valley.
It is between 1270 and 1700 km2 of extension. It is 130 km southwest of Cairo. It is an agricultural oasis because of its fertility, the Joseph Canal (connecting the Fayoum with the Nile), and other channels that were branched out from the beginning of the Joseph Canal to the end of Fayoum.
The History of the Fayoum
Fayoum was the nomo XXI of Ancient Egypt, the first nomo in Upper Egypt, and was known as “Atef-Pehu” which means Northern Sycamore. The capital of Fayoum was “Shedyt” which means the house of Sobek and in Greek, it was known as Crocodileopolis (after the god Sobek, the crocodile god).
Later in the time of Ptolemy II, this capital was known as “Arsínoe”. It began its importance from the XII dynasty of the Middle Empire when it was considered as the agricultural center of Egypt because of the canalization works. The Joseph Canal was built by the Theban pharaohs but due to its importance, it was later restored by the Sultan of Saladin (the founder of the Saladin Citadel in Cairo).
The Fayoum Attractions
The Valley of the Whales (Wadi el Hitan): It is a unique place in Egypt. It contains invaluable fossils preserved from the whales. There are also other fossils of other animals such as turtles, crocodiles, and sawfish.
Wadi Al Rayan: It is 1793 km2. It is considered a protected area since 1989. It contains two artificial lakes, southwest of Karun Lake. The natural landscapes in this place are wonderful. There are also the waterfalls, the only ones in Egypt.
Some pyramids: the Pyramid of Hawara, the Pyramid of El Lahon, and the Pyramid of Meidum.
Book your trip to Egypt
Fayoum is a hidden destination in Egypt, if you are in Cairo, do not miss this opportunity to explore this city. Check out our Egypt travel packages or Nile cruise to choose your favorite destinations in Egypt.