Dakhla Oasis and Al Qasr
The Dakhla Oasis in the Western Desert consists of 14 separate settlements with a combined population of over 75,000 people. Just outside Mut, the 'capital' of Dakhla, lies the well-preserved Islamic settlement of Al Qasr, built on Roman foundations and acknowledged as the longest continually inhabited site in the oasis. To walk through Al Qasr's narrow maze of streets and alleyways is to step back to medieval times; you will discover a blacksmith's forge, an antique waterwheel (or saqqiya) and a donkey-powered grain mill. The town's Ethnographic Museum contains artefacts and photos from all the oases in the Western Desert. The mud-brick Nasr el-Din mosque has a 21-metre minaret typical of Ayyubid architecture (12th century). You will also visit the tombs of el-Mozwaka, dating from Pharaonic times.