To experience an oasis of great fun and pleasurable times take a private tour of Faiyum, the oldest city in the history of Egypt.
Egyptian governates are the top tier of the country’s jurisdiction hierarchy and there are twenty-seven in the County. Faiyum is the capital city of the Faiyum Governorate.
Located in the middle of Egypt, Faiyum is found in the Faiyum Oasis which is not too far from Egypt’s capital Cairo.
It was originally called Shedet during the times of Ancient Egypt, the Greeks called it Krocodilopolis because of the worshipping of a sacred crocodile in the local temple. It was then called Arsinoe after the wife of Ptolemy II Philadelphus.
There are a number of archaeological sites in and around Faiyum such as palaces built by Pharaohs and temples built by the Greeks.
Within the city, you will find lots of large bazaars, baths, mosques and a very popular weekly market. Bahr Youssef is the name of the canal that runs tour the city. Read More...
Places in Faiyum to Go on Sightseeing Tours Are the Hanging Mosque Which Was Built Under the Ottoman Rule or Lahun Pyramids
Some of the places to see on sightseeing tours are the Hanging Mosque which was built under the Ottoman Rule, Lahun Pyramids which are found just outside the city or Qaitbay Mosque, in the city, built by the wife of the Mamluk Sultan Qaitbay.
There is also the largest waterfalls in Egypt found in the vicinity of Faiyum, the Wadi El Rayan where you can spend the day looking out for the endangered slender-horned gazelle and other animals.
When you visit Faiyum, you are greeted with such diverse and interesting landscape. There is desert, urban and greenery all with something special to off visitors.
Top 10 Things to Do in Faiyum
Take a sightseeing tour of a noteworthy Islamic monument in Faiyum, the Hanging Mosque. This mosque is built atop five archways that once housed artists. It was constructed by Prince Soliman Ibn Mouhamed in 1375 and leading to the main door has a double flight of stairs. This mosque is said to resemble the Mamluqi Mosques and its ceilings are rich with decorations and inscriptions from the Ottoman era.
Take a guided tour to the southernmost pyramid structure in Egypt, the Lahun Pyramids. It is made of mud brick but the there are stone walls in the core. The entrance is to the south where all other pyramids have their entrances to the east of the temple. From the entrance, there are several corridors that surround the burial room that were built purposely to confuse thieves.This pyramid is one of the best from the twelfth century.
Wadi El Rayan
Take a sightseeing tour of Wadi El Rayan which is a unique nature protectorate in Faiyum. Wadi El Rayan is home to 2 lakes and the only waterfalls in Egypt. Take the time to call into the visitors centre and learn all about the lakes, on how it happened they were formed, the waterfalls and also learn about the wonderful wildlife found here which includes the endangered slender horn gazelle whose sole population in the world is here.
On a sightseeing tour, you will see Hawara, an archaeological site of Ancient Egypt. It is located south of the site of Krocodilopolis at the entrance to the Faiyum oasis depression. It is said the first excavation on this site was in 1843 by Karl Lepsius. There were many artefacts found in the pyramid on this site that dates back to the 12th Dynasty. They include 146 portraits on coffins dating to the Roman period.
Take a city tour of Faiyum and see the Qaitbey Mosque. It is a mosque that was built by the wife of Sultan Qaitbey and sister of Sultan al-Zahir Qansouh, Lady Khawand Aslbay. It was completed by her son. The majority of the mosque was built on the bridge El wadaa bridge but due to flooding the building cracked and fell to the place it is now. On the door of the mosque, there is a panel of marble inscribed with the name of the builder.
On a sightseeing tour see the only remains of the ancient settlement, a Ptolemaic temple, known as Qasr Qarun. It was built in 4 BC and dedicated to Sobek the crocodile - headed god of Al- Fayoum. The temple is built of yellow limestone blocks and unusual for Egypt, there are no inscriptions except for at the entrance.There is an amazing maze of chambers, tunnels and stairways that are well worth the adventurous exploration.
When on a guided tour of Faiyum, see the Waterwheels. There are more than 200 waterwheels found in the governorate and are prominent symbols of the town and oasis. It was the Greeks who invented the waterwheel and the first designs of them are seen in Ptolemaic Egyptian sources. It is thought that since the Pharaoh's, theses wheels have kept the town irrigated. The most popular one is the rickety version in the centre of town.
Take a guided tour to Medinet Madi, an ancient isolated city in Faiyum. It is a place that many have disregarded, but it is a welcome sight to see ruins not crowded. When yo are there with a small group, you think you are the alone with the heads of the stone sphinxes. These ruins are well preserved for a Middle Kingdom temple as few have survived. Excavated in early 20th century, they found an archive of Greek texts.
On sightseeing tours of the Faiyum Oasis, you will come across the ruins of ancient Karanis on the edge of the oasis depression. Karanis was founded by Ptolemy II’s mercenaries in the 3rd century BC. The ancient city is no longer very well intact except for a few walls, but there are two well preserved Graeco -Roman Temples. When here, it is hard to believe it was once a mud brick settlement with thousands of people living here.
An excellent place to relax and take it easy is on the lake edge of Lake Qaran. This popular spot is dotted with cafes and wedding pavilions. Even though it is not a big swimming location, the sight of the late on the edge of the desert is refreshing enough. It is possible to take private tours by boat out onto the lake and from there see the shoreline wildlife and birds that include a colony of flamingos, spoonbills and much more.
Travel Tips for Faiyum
Best Time To Visit
Faiyum is very similar to Cairo, March to April and October to November are the best times to book your private tour. These months have comfortable temperatures, fewer crowds and low hotel rates on most days of the week. Winter is by far the most popular time to visit here because the days are warm and sunny and the evenings are cool and breezy. If you're planning a trip between December and February, you can expect a higher number of tourists.
The price of anything touristy related in Faiyum is very reasonable. There are cheap and cheerful places to stay when you are on a budget and then there are the luxury 5-star hotels where you pay for the rich comfort. Again the food is the same; there is very tasty food sold from stalls on the street that costs next to nothing and fine restaurants where you pay way too much. The cost of Private tours will vary from operator and months, so do your research.
Know Before Visiting
Faiyum may be the oldest city in Egypt, but there are modern thieves. Be careful of your possessions and never carry more money than necessary. Book private tours or sightseeing tours before you arrive, that way you are not disappointed if tour booked out and you can schedule other activities around your tours. It is also a good idea to have extra tissues with as there seems to be a lack of toilet rolls in Egypt.
The climate in Faiyum is desert climate. There is virtually no rain whatsoever during the year. The hottest month of the year is July when temperatures are around 30 degrees Celsius. On average the coldest month of the year is January when the temperatures are as low as 11 degrees Celsius. The Koppen-Geiger climate classification is BWh. The yearly average temperature in Faiyum is 21 degrees Celsius.