Temples of Amun, Siwa Oasis
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Aghurmi
Siwa Oasis 11211
Matruh, Egypt
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Ancient Ruins
 
 
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Western Desert, Egypt

 

Photo by Elizabeth LoCicero

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The abandoned village of Aghurmi, once Siwa's main settlement, boasts two ancient Egyptian temples. Both are dedicated to Amun, known to the Greeks as Zeus. The famed Temple of the Oracle, also known as the Temple of Amun, was home to one of the most revered oracles in the classical world. It was here that the sibyls addressed Alexander the Great as deity and established his right to rule Egypt. The nearby Temple of Umm Ubayd likely played an important role in Amun and oracle rituals. While little remains of either, the ruins provide an interesting spot to recount ancient stories. The legend of the lost army of the Persian King Cambyses, reputedly swallowed by a sand storm en route to Siwa in 525 BC, is but one.
Oracle of Siwa
Great Sand Sea, Western Desert

Great Sand Sea, Western Desert

Alfredo De Simone

 
Oracle is the Greek word for a profit or prophecy that depicts the future much like a crystal ball in fairy tales. And while oracles may not be popular today they were routinely consulted in classical times. The leaders of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome never made an important decision without seeking the future from an oracle first. The Oracle of Siwa, one of the most important oracles of all, was believed to hold the truth about the son of the gods. In fact, many great leaders attempted the trek across the desert in the hope that the Oracle would proclaim them to be the true ruler of Egypt. And some of them never made it. The Persian King Cambyses and his army of 50,000 men were swallowed by a sand storm, never reaching Siwa. When Alexander the Great arrived in Siwa in 331 BC the sibyls, the oracle's ambassadors, addressed the Macedonian king as deity and established his right to govern Egypt.
 
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The only thing in Siwa that disappoints

Submitted on 15 February 2008 by snowedunder from Monza, Italy
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The crumbling ruins of the Temple of the Oracle and Temple of Umm Ubayd leave kids with a lingering question, 'Why did Alexander the Great travel here?' Stories of failed missions and oracles notwithstanding, piles of rocks these monuments remain. Truly unfortunate.
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