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Qara Oasis



Qara Oasis
Introduction

1. Town on the mushroom




















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QARA
Beyond space and time


Qara, Egypt

The welcoming committee of Qara Oasis.

Qara, Egypt

Qara, Egypt

Qara, Egypt


Everyone knows that Egypt has 6 inhabited oases, 7 if Paris is counted as one. The truth is, there is one more. It rests right on the point where the Egyptian desert is about to tip down into the Qattara Depression, 18,000 km² and 133 metres below sea level.
In the Qara Oasis some 300 people live in an isolation so unimaginable, that my friends, Lisbeth and Per Glad of Norway were treated as a combination of ambassadors and movie stars when arriving there one day in 2006. The Qarawis take standard Egyptian hospitality and curiosity to a higher level.
The oasis of Qara may appear a bit like a disappointment, since it seems to begin for so long time. There are scattered date palms for kilometres before you arrive in the heart of the oasis. Considering its isolation, that only 300 people live here, you may expect that this is the place where sand dunes suddenly transforms into luscious gardens and a little lake in the middle.
Forget about that, and reflect on the fact that you step back from the 21st century here. Also, notice the skin colour of the locals here, compared to Siwa. They have much darker skin. Nubians? Slave ancestors?
Second, what about the local legend telling that exactly 317 people shall live here? When a child is born, it is said that one of the elders will die the following night.
Third, stroll off for the traditional village on the top of the mushroom mountain. Or rather not, it is abandoned, so admire it from a distance and make up your own mind about how life must have been here until floods in 1982 made it inhabitable.
Qara, Egypt



By Tore Kjeilen