Adventure in the desert

For those seeking adventure in the desert, there are tours and attractions aplenty near to Marsa Alam. Quad bike or jeep safaris into the desert, including a visit to a genuine Bedouin village, can be taken from the resort, and are available as full or half day excursions, which include a barbecue and entertainment at the Bedouin village, and the chance to ride a camel in the Egyptian desert. It is believed that the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs mined brilliant green emeralds in the mountainous areas of the Eastern Desert southwest of Marsa Alam. The Cleopatra Mines or Mons Smaragdus (Emerald Mountains) became the most famous mining complex in the ancient world, and at various times the mines at Wadi Gemal, Wadi Sikeit, Wadi Nuqrus and Gebel Zabara were in use during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. Today the ruins of the Zabara and Sikeit mining settlements are still evident near Marsa Alam, as well as the remains of temples and ancient caves. Visitors looking for history will do well to visit the mines, which, like so many sites of natural resources in Egypt, bear evidence of several different civilizations who have made use of the precious stones over thousands of years. Also not far from Marsa Alam are the remains of the Roman port settlement, Myos Hormos, where visitors can see remarkably well-preserved Roman artefacts, and as many as 200 hierogylphic tablets adorning the cliffs at Wadi Hammamat. Many of these tablets are 4,000 years old, and depict traditional reed boats traveling to the Nile. Hammamat is also famous for Bekheny stone, a beautiful green ornamental rock which was considered sacred in ancient times. The stone was actively quarried until Roman times, and used to make bowls, statues and even sarcophagi. Many items made from Bekheny stone have been found in the Pyramid tombs of the Pharoahs. In later years, the Romans built watchtowers along the wadi, many of which can still be found still there today. 


Post a Comment

Popular Posts