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Siwa is a town in the Western Desert region of Egypt.
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Points of Interest
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Points of Interest in Siwa
- Siwa Oasis. 300,000 palm trees, 70,000 olive trees, 300 freshwater springs.
- Temple of the Oracle (Situated on the hill of Aghurmi, about 4 km east of Siwa Town). Built in the 6th century BC, dedicated to Zmun (Zeus). Kings unsuccessfully sent armies to destroy this temple due to the power of the oracle. Visited by Alexander the Great, who asked if he was the son of Zeus. Poorly restored. Nearby village is worth a look. 25LE Adult, 15LE Student.
- Temple of Amun / Temple of Umm Ubaydah (200m further from the Temple of the Oracle). This structure is almost completely destroyed, owing to its dynamiting in 1896 by an Ottoman governor eager to acquire building material. An inscribed wall represents all that remains to be seen. Based on earlier drawings by pioneer explorers, however, scholars have deduced that the temple was erected by the pharaoh Nectanebo of the 30th Dynasty.
- Cleopatra's Bath. A natural hot spring feeds this rock pool, a popular swimming hole for locals and visitors alike. Tito’s Cafe, previously listed here, has closed. But the friendly owner has opened a new café at Cleopatra Spring, called Dolce Vita. He is fluent in Italian and also speaks English. The cafe offers a choice of cold and hot drinks and food, and you can get an uninterrupted view of the pool from the café or the Bedouin tent. They have a website with lots of photos, including the parties with Siwan musicians held there sometimes at night, check the Dolce Vita website for upcoming events.
- Fatnas Spring (6km west of Siwa town. Go past the Council Building and take a left at the first fork. Continue around the Shali and follow the signs.). Idyllic setting among palm trees and lush greenery. Great place to watch sunset. Small Cafe.
- Gebel el-Mawta / Mountain of the Dead (located about 1 km north of the centre of Siwa Town). tombs open when the guardians are present, daily 7AM-2PM (Fridays 7AM-12noon). This hill features a large number of rock cut tombs, mostly dating back to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods (3rd century BCE - 2nd century CE). Make sure you see the tomb containing the 1500 year old Graeco-Roman mummies which are in excellent condition. 20LE Adult, 10LE Student, Baksheesh expected.
- the Tomb of Siamun - beautifully colored reliefs
- the Tomb of Mesu-Isis - contains a mummified skull
- the Tomb of Niperpathot - inscriptions and drawings
- the Tomb of the Crocodile - deteriorating wall paintings show a yellow crocodile
- Gebel Darkur (4km from Siwa town). Get thrown into a bath of hot sand for 20 minutes at a time then drink tea. Supposedly good for rheumatism.
Popular events in Siwa in the near future
Siwa has a typical desert climate. It is extremely hot in the summer days and cool in winter nights.
- Excurisons to Bir Wahid (12 km southwest of Siwa.). Hot spring out at the dunes of the Great Sand Sea. Spend a night on a desert safari in a 4x4. Experience enormous rolling sand dunes. Sandboarding can be done at a small additional cost, ask before departing. Swim in the hot and cold springs in the desert - excellent, although the hot spring is filled with (possibly rusted) minerals which will leave orange stains on clothing and towels. This may or may not be due to the pipe which supplies the pool. The cold spring is in fact lake-sized with very cold and clean water. Visit the fossilized sea remains in the desert. Sleep overnight at a touristy Bedouin camp, dinner provided. More than likely, the driver will leave and return at 8:00 AM to drive back to Siwa town - although the Bedouin caretakers will look after you. 100LE + 5$ permit, Haggling necessary.
- Excurisons by car safari (around the oasis outskirts). A nice trip by van or car can take you to a hot water spring in a camp next to Darkur, to the eastern lake, to zaytoun abandoned village, to Abu Shoruf cold spring and to the outskirts of the Great Sea of Sand. Cheaper then jeep safari, Around 50LE per person, no permit needed. Around 50LE per person, Haggling necessary.
- Abu-Zahra Bedouin Safaris. One of the most famous families working in the safari business with a good manner and well-known with the high care about keeping the environment clean.
Siwa Dates are the best in Egypt, and perhaps the whole world. Apart from regular dates, they are also sold stuffed with almonds and chocolate. Shops specializing in dates are located around Market Square, and prices range from around 7 to 8 LE for a 500 gram box.
- Abdu's Restaurant (around the corner from the town center). 8:30am to midnight. Small, popular place. Offers a breakfast and a variety of entrées such as pasta, vegetable stews, couscous, meats, and salads - all freshly made, so be prepared to wait. 6LE to 25LE per entrée.
- East-West (on the road leading from the town center to the bus station). fresh fish, pigeon, and pizzas. 3LE to 15LE.
- Dunes Restaurant (Sharia Torrar). Tables set under the palm trees. Pancakes, smoothies, stuffed pigeon. Sheeshas, live music. From 8LE to 25LE.
- Alexander Restaurant (off central market square). Pizza, vegetable stews, great chicken and curry. Slow service. From 5LE to 15LE.
- New Star Restaurant & Coffee Shop, Sharia Subukha (Opposite Siwa Safari Paradise). Set in a beautiful palm grove. Usual food. Sells traditional clothes and crafts From 5LE to 20LE.
- Zeytouna (Central Market Square). Popular Cafe
- Bakri's Cafe, Sohag Rest House (Central Market Square). Great place for sheesha and backgammon
- Nour El Waha Restaurant, Seboukha st. (opposite Shali Lodge), ☎ 2046 460 0293. Nour El Waha is a popular hang-out in a palm grove opposite Shali Lodge. The food is a mixture of Egyptian and Western cuisine. Sheesha is available at night. Enjoy the food & the music & the traditional siwa tea in a romantic ambiance. £2-5 ($4-$8).
- abou Ayman, town center (at Shali entrance). very good grilled chicken & Kofta (1/2 chicken @ around 20LE)
- Albabenshal Siwa Restaurant, Market Square (Just to the left of Shali Main gate, Fortress of Shali). Good food & dessert. (feteer (meat/veg) @ 15LE 1/2 chicken @ 20LE. don't miss the Konafa & the date chocolate fluf cake. you can have a drink on the roof
- Dolce Vita, Cleopatra Spring. early morning to evening. A new café opened in April 2011.The friendly owner is fluent in Italian and also speaks English. Dolce Vita offers a good choice of cold and hot drinks and food, and you get an uninterrupted view of the pool from the café or the Bedouin tent.
Siwan Tea. This is a red tea that is commonly found on desert safaris and is available in most restaurants. 500g boxes of red (or green) tea leaves are sold in date/olive shop and cost about 15 LE.
- Jewelry - 50LE to 150LE
- Wedding Dresses - Famous for red, orange, green, and black embroidery, embellished with shells and beads - 250LE to 500LE
- Baskets - woven from date palms
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Siwa on Wikivoyage.