Bahariya – the Northern Oasis is located around 300km from Cairo. The oasis consists of many villages; the largest of these is Bawiti. The Wahati people who mainly inhabit the area are descendants of the ancient tribes who used to inhabit the area from Libya and the North coast. The Wahati people of mainly Islamic and the area is home to many mosques.
The Bahariya oasis was made famous in 1996 when a huge burial site was discovered, containing around 250 mummies, the mummies dated back to various periods’ throughout history. To date, approximately thirty-four tombs have been discovered. The site of the “Golden Mummies” is also home to the ruins of the Temple of Alexander’. Many Egyptologists believe that Alexander the Great visited Bahariya when returning from visiting the Oracle of Amun at Siwa.
Today the history of Bahariya is documented in even more detail. Several local sheikhs keep a genealogical history. They record not only Births, Deaths and Marriages, but also surprising events such as an encounter with a Jinn or other supernatural creatures. Three of these record books are kept, one in Mandisha, another in Bawiti and the third in El Haiz.
As far back as the Middle Kingdom, Bahariya has been a major agricultural centre for Egypt. The area has been, and continues to be famous for its wine even today.
Popular excursions out from Bahariya include the nearby White and Black Deserts. These amazing deserts have landscapes reminiscent of the moon, dotted with weird rock formations form by thousands of years of wind erosion. The Crystal Mountain, a large rock formation made up in large part by quartz crystals, is another popular attraction.