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Fortress of Shali, Siwa Oasis
Fast Facts

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ADDRESS
Main Square
Siwa Oasis 11211
Matruh, Egypt
ACTIVITIES
Ancient Ruins
 
 
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Western Desert, Egypt

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

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The crumbling ruins of Shali Fortress dominate Siwa's main square and are one of the main reasons for a trek to this idyllic desert oasis. Built in the 12th century to protect oasis inhabitants from foreign invaders as well as mosquitoes, this mud brick citadel once housed more than 600 people in four to five story abodes. Consider the majesty of this fortress before the rains melted the salt, one of the principle materials of karsheef, and washed it away. Can you imagine what life in the Fortress of Shali was like?
Getting There
 
The main entrance to the Fortress of Shali is just off Siwa's main square and is easily reached by foot, bike or careta (donkey cart) from anywhere within the town.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
Take care when touring this crumbling citadel; it's riddled with holes and there are no guardrails.
 
Traveler Reviews

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A living science experiment

Submitted on 15 February 2008 by snowedunder from Monza, Italy
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My 9-year-old daughter is no expert in architecture yet she found the Fortress of Shali fascinating. When she discovered that the citadel's mud brick walls were made with salt the crumbling ruins were quickly understood. Documenting the affects of rain on salt bricks became her mission for the day. 'I have to show this to my class!' Climbing the ruble made the task that much more fun. 
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