Kharga Oasis, the capital of the governorate of the new valley, or Al Wadi Al Gadeed has been inhabited since prehistoric times and it is still the most populated oasis of Egypt today.
Al Kharga Oasis, located in the Western Desert of Egypt, 550 km south of Cairo and to the west of the Nile valley.
Kharga means “outside” in the Arabic language. The oasis known as the “Southern Oasis” due to the fact it is the southernmost of Egypt’s five western oases.
Although the oasis gets little rain, water is obtained from wells dug into the porous sandstone.
The main source of income in the oasis is from agriculture, the cultivation of dates, cereals, rice and vegetables, which are sent to markets in the Nile Valley. Kharga’s main craft is basket and mat-making from the leaves and fibres of the palm trees.
It was an important intersection connecting caravan roads from the Darfur province of Sudan (ancient Nubia) to the Nile Valley during the 12th Dynasty.
During the Third Intermediate Period, Egypt’s Libyan rulers began to take an interest in the Oases. There are two temples dedicated to the Theban triad were built at Hibis and el-Ghueita during the Late Period.
The temple of Nadurer is situated in the northeast of the Kharga Oasis, the new valley. The temple was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius or Hadrian and it was dedicated to god Amon.
Hibis Temple was built during the Persian period and it was dedicated to the Theban triad, consisting of the gods Amon, Mut and Khonso who’s relieves are in very good condition.
When the Romans came to Egypt they increased the prosperity of the oasis by creating new wells, cultivating many crops and building a series of ‘fortress settlements’ for protection of the caravan routes.
In 2010, an Egyptian-American archaeological mission discovered the ruins of Kharga Oasis, as they found the ruins of some huge buildings, passageways, and a large bread bakery. These ruins go back to the Middle Kingdom.