Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Siwa, Egypt - Igloos in the Sahara...


Located on a hill in the centre of town (metres from the Yousef Hotel) was the Fortress of Shali, the pinnacle of Siwa. Built around 1200, the Fortress provided security for Siwans from Beduoin raiders. The original fortress must have been quite the sight. Some of the buildings reached 5 stories high. In 1923, after a series of devastating rain storms, the Fortress, made of composite mud/salt bricks, suffered irreversible damage. It simply melted away. Today, only a few of the ground level buildings are still occupied...

Did I mention, there is was no paid admission to visit the ruins? Free is good... just walk in...

Near the top... The building materials were hard as rock...

Shali must have been pretty impressive back in the day...

Definitely recommend climbing up to the top of the hill for sunset. Except for a few fellow travelers, Egyptian or Western, you'll have the whole place to yourself...

Ahhh...getting tired of these sunset photos yet?...

Also, make sure you bring a torch with you if you plan on staying beyond sunset because the first step down is usually a doozie...

One of the remaining minarets in Shali...

It's official: I'm going to Cairo tomorrow. Momentarily delayed mind you. Jason has come down with a bout of food poisoning, I think, and couldn't make today's bus. Just as well, I'll take the opportunity to take some more pix.

I have mixed feelings about leaving Siwa. The people have been nice. The experience at the Abdu Restarant wasn't pleasant (another unethical ripoff-the-tourists story) but didn't really taint the trip. The 4X4 debacle will take more time to forget but, in the long run, no biggie.

As a chill out spot, Siwa was a difficult place because of 1) the dang heat (next time I'm coming during the spring/fall) and 2) there isn't really a place to hang out unless you rent a bike and head to one of the springs. If you are biking during the heat of the day you're pretty much knackered for the rest of the day. Otherwise, it was a good experience. But it's time to go. There are some important decisions to be made back in Cairo.

Out of Canuckistan: A travel blog, June 3/07
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3 comments:

Steve H. said...

Once I've finished saving the country I might pay a visit.

bubba said...

steve, you could have a lot of time on your hands real soon. gnome sayin'? better book some plane tix, say a xmas getaway?

Steve H. said...

That's a great idea, Bubba. Always good to celebrate with a nice vaca! No need to book any tix, though. I'll just use "Air Steve".