Egypt: Kharga - The Past

Kharga -- The Past

Outside the main center is the Temple of Hibis, built on the site of an 18th dynasty settlement of Saites, Persians and Ptolemies. One of the few Persian monuments in Egypt, the 6th century BC temple is well preserved with painted vultures and huge reliefs of Darius greeting Egyptian gods on the outer walls. Ten kilometers away, the Necropolis of al-Bagawat contains 263 mud brick chapels with Coptic murals, including the Chapel of Peace with images of Adam and Eve and the Ark on it's dome. There is also the Chapel of the Exodus with frescoes of pharaonic troops pursuing the Jews, led by Moses, out of Egypt. Pharaonic monuments include the al-Ghuwaytah Temple which dates from 522 BC and the Temple of Amenebis.

The thermal springs at Bulaq and Nasser villages, to the south, are famous for water temperatures of up to 43 degrees Celsius and reputed to be suitable for the treatment of rheumatism and allergies. Camping facilities are available near both villages. Further south is Baris Oasis, the second largest settlement in Kharga. Houses designed in traditional Nubian style by Hassan Fathy remain uninhabited because local people refused to live in them do to their similarity to tombs. Building stopped in the late 1960s. Ancient monuments include the Temple of Dush, dedicated to Isis and Serapis. Its name derives from Kush, the ancient Sudanese capital which traded with Egypt along the Nile. Archeologists are still unearthing the ancient city of Kysis with which the temple is associated. An elaborate system of clay pipes and an abandoned Christian church, suggest that Kysis was abandoned when its underground springs dried up, but the exact date remains a mystery.

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