El Fayoum

     
Only two hours from Cairo by road, Fayoum is renowned for its around year warm climate, numerous water wheels (introduced by the Ptolemies in the 3rd century) and lush agricultural land. The local "souk" in Fayoum City sells copperware, spices and gold jewelry. Opposite the "souk" is the Hanging Mosque, built above five arches and nearby is the 15th century Mosque of Kwawand Asla-Bey built by Sultan Quaitbay.  


The city's dominant attractions are the water wheels built by the Greek settlers, the canals, and the Obelisk, which stands at the city's northern entrance and was erected in honor of Senwosret I (12th Dynasty). This monument was originally found in two pieces during the 18th century and was recently reconstructed and erected in the City. It is thought to be the only Obelisk in Egypt with a rounded top, and has a cleft where a golden statue of Ra was originally placed. At 215 sq km, the current lake Qaroun remains Egypt's largest salt-water lake. The peacefulness of the area is a relief from the hustle and bustle of Cairo, from which it is a brief trip. Bird life still abounds around Lake Qaroun, bordered by semi-nomadic Bedouin settlements and fishing