Seen on a map or from the sky, The Fayum not only appears before our eyes as the largest oasis in Egypt, but it also gives the impression of a leaf that is born on the long green and bluestem of the Nile some 100 kilometers south of the country’s capital, Cairo. In fact, it is the longest river in Africa that feeds this place with its waters, giving away life and creating a wonderfully fresh and fertile habitat in the middle of the desert.
So it’s not quite right to call this place an oasis since its waters don’t come from a well or a spring. The water comes from the east through a centuries-old system of canals that weave a network of distribution between the palm groves and orchards until it reaches Lake Qarun.
The Fayum was a place known as the lake of Meris in the Greco-Roman era. The word Fayum is much later or comes from the Coptic language word Prom, which means “sea”. And the truth is that for the inhabitants of Upper Egypt that stretch of freshwater, much larger than the one we see today, was really a real sea.
Most important places to visit in Al Fayoum:
The Northern Karanis Temple in El Fayum
The sacred places of Karanis, in the northwest of El Fayum -situated to the south of the Nile delta- constituted two well-known temples, which were dedicated to the crocodile god, in all his forms, like Pnepheros, Petesouchos, and Soknopaios. As with other animals worshipped in Egypt.
Lake Qarun Protected Area
Lake Qarum is an extraordinarily important wetland, which covers an area of 230 square kilometers and whose purpose is the preservation of marine and terrestrial fauna. It is located in the province of Fayum and has a depth of just over four meters. The lake is an important archaeological site.
Wadi El Rayan
Wadi El Rayan, a large depression located to the west of El Fayum, has been home to a hydrological project since the end of the 20th century, where the water now flows to give rise to two large lakes, formerly three, but one of them dried up.
Visiting the Fayum oasis
The Fayum is a large oasis located south of the Nile Delta, full of vestiges of the past. It allows us to know the details and monuments of the most recent years of Egyptian history, although these are closer to us only in comparison with the distant pharaonic times.