Friday, February 6, 2009
Oasis in western Egypt with 15,000 inhabitants, in the interior of the country, near the border to Libya, at an depression of 18 metres below sea level.
The oasis is 82 km long and has a width varying between 2 and 20 km. The economic base of the oasis is agriculture of which dates and olives are the principal produce. There are 300,000 date palms and 70,000 olive trees. The agriculture is fed by natural springs as well as a couple of artificial ones. In the recent decades, Siwa has suffered more and more from increasing salification of the soil. The people are Berbers, and have their own language. To Siwa, there are 3 larger salt lakes, Birket Maraqi, Birket Siwa, and Birket Zaytun.
The main settlement is Shali, situated at the centre of the oasis. Tourism has gradually given employment for some, but the number of visitors remains small, yet transparent in the oasis.