Al Qasr definitely has an oasis fairytale feel to it (moreso in 2013 with zero tourists about).

Nasr ad-Din Mosque and minaret.

Nasr ad-Din Mosque with its 21-meter-high minaret, above the domed, saint’s tomb.

Along with the surreal White Desert sculptures, it was my favourite destination during my recent Western Desert journey.

The Medieval Islamic town of Al Qasr was built in the 12th century AD on the foundations of a Roman settlement. It is considered to be one of the oldest-inhabited areas of Dakhla oasis. Most of the mud-brick ruins seen today, date from the Ottoman period of 1516–1798, when the town was the capital of Dakhla Oasis.

alley al-qasr village dakhla

Much of the old town is high walls and covered alleys – to avoid the worst of the sandstorms and harsh summer heat.

donkey cart dakhla

madrassa al-qasr dakhla

Madrassa – Islamic school – in old town of Al Qasr.

woman in alley el-qasr dakhla

man on donkey al-qasr egypt

On an afternoon walk to sand dunes on the edge of town, I watched occasional movement in the distance: this guy riding a donkey, a tractor, two cows led by a boy, a donkey cart … the setting sun.

desert sunset

egyptian faces and food

Young girl of Al-Qasr. Right: Mohammad in his cafe, located below his guesthouse, where I stayed a couple of nights. Along with great hospitality, he whips up some tasty “real” Egyptian meals, too.

oasis village al-qasr dakhla

A “Romantised” view of Al-Qasr. Because on either side of this picture there are modern brick houses. And actually very few families still live in the old town.

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