Massages, hot springs, a completely solar powered city, a global destination for medical tourism, a UNESCO world heritage site, and much more. This is a how Siwa is becoming not just a major Egyptian city, but a major destination for world tourism. Go before its packed!
Before the 1980s, when a road was built to connect Siwa to the rest of Egypt, the oasis used to be a secluded Berber area; more closely tied to Libya than Egypt. However, the government has finally recognised how fantastic Siwa is! The Siwa Oasis Medical Tourism Conference kicked off yesterday, in coordination with the University of Alexandria, to announce Siwa as a global centre for medical and environmental tourism, announced governor of Matrouh Major General Alaa Abu Zeid.
Siwa is legendary as one of the world’s most impressive nature reserves/heritage sites and has a popular annual date and olive oil festival. The conference discussed how to develop the therapeutic and environmental tourism capabilities of the city such as the establishment of a national museum focusing on Siwa's history. The conference was attended by vice president of Alexandria University for Matrouh branch Mohamed Ismail, dean of the faculty of hotel management Dalal Abdel Hady, and many French volunteers for the marketing of Siwa Oasis in the area of Grenoble, France.
Earlier this month, EGP 2 billion in projects were inked in Siwa, which includes five industrial, agricultural, and services projects, including a fish farm, an olive oil refinery, a water park, a number of agricultural projects, and a mineral water bottling plant which comes as part of EGP 22 billion in signed contracts during the Marsa Matrouh Economic Conference back in 2015. Siwa also saw the development of a solar power plant which currently powers the entire city.
Siwa was famed for its healing benefits before the government had the idea; Siwa’s sand baths on El Dakrror Mountain have been a place of healing for those suffering from rheumatism and joint pain. The hot dry sand is used as a magical massage, as being buried neck deep in the sand has been a traditional treatment for everything from joint pain, infertility, to impotence. Siwa’s hot springs have also been used to treat diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatism, and digestive system diseases. Scientists have proven that the Kegar well contains minerals similar to those found in the springs of Karlovy Vary, the world-famous heath centre in the Czech Republic where tourists from around the world flock to get treatment.
Legend has it that Alexander the Great visited Siwa himself before going on to establish that city named after him… Alexandria. He went to consult with the Oracle of Amon in Siwa, who named him Pharaoh of Egypt and whose temple still stands ready for a touristic visit. Siwa also has a historical reputation of being highly accepting of homosexuality and has established rituals celebrating same-sex marriage.