Bahariya Oasis is located 200 miles from Cairo on the western desert, which made it nearer to the capital of Egypt in comparison to other remote oasis like Siwa or Al Kharga. It’s considered a heaven on earth according to its geologic landscapes, surrounded by White and black hills made of quartz.
The name Bahariya was possibly derived from the word Bahr, which means the sea in the Arabic language. The word more specifically referred to the Mediterranean Sea and generally to the Northern lands of Egypt in ancient times. The Pharos named the Bahareya Oasis "Desdes" while the Romans named it "Parva" or the little oasis.
Bahariya is the closest oasis to Cairo and the smallest of the 4 depressions at 2000 sq km. It was at the heart of the great caravan routes across the desert during the Late Kingdom period. The Bahareya consists of a large depression in the desert that is 94 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide. The oasis also contains a number of huge mountains like Gebel Ghurabi, Gebel Maghrafa, Gebel Dist, or Gebel El Englizi, or the English Mountain.
During the Pharaonic era, the oasis was a centre of agriculture, producing wine sold in the Nile Valley and as far away as Rome. Its strategic location on the Libya–Nile Valley caravan routes ensured it prospered throughout later ages. In recent years, stunning archaeological finds, such as that of the Golden Mummies, and easy access to the White and Black Deserts have earned Bahariya a firm spot on the tourist map.
The Bahareya Oasis has many hot springs like Ain Bishmu which dates back to Roman times, Bir Al Nebaga which is located in Bawiti, and Bir Matar which is located further to the North. At the Northernmost point of the Bahareya Oasis, there is the small lake of Al Marun that is surrounded by places that have many rare birds for bird watching fans.
Nowadays, the Bahareya Oasis hosts more than thirty thousand people who mostly live in the four main towns of the oasis: Bawiti, the capital and center point of the Bahareya Oasis, Al Qaser, the ancient village in the Bahareya Oasis, Mandisha, and Zabw.