Another mythological place in Egypt is the Oasis of Siwa which was not so easy to reach in 1985. From Alexandria I took again a regional bus to the small town of Marsa Matruh being situated at the coast not far away from the Libyan border in the very West. On the photo above and hereunder you see a typical street-scene with a donkey cart and of course the old bazaar there. But I had to stay in this town in order to get a special permission from the local authorities for visiting the Oasis of Siwa (being also a military’s exclusion zone), this alone took me around 2 days. It is a rural area, just normal life and more unspectacular except one very strange and bizarre exhibition on the outskirts of Marsa Matruh.
I am quite sure that this must be the only place in the world where a museum honours the Nazi general Erwin Rommel with the still existing Rommel’s Cave Museum (see photo hereunder). Just before Rommel’s Beach is the cave system where Rommel planned the axis forces’s military operation during WW II. The caves are now home to a small museum that displays some of his personnel effects and the maps he drew up here presenting him as a hero. The Egyptians did not like very much to be part of the British Empire while their great hope to become independent after WW I was not respected by the colonial powers at Versailles. So the Egyptians appreciated when the German Wehrmacht invaded Northern-Egypt in the naive hope for a principal change of their fate after being first occupied by the Osmans for long time and then later by the British. And they especially admired the combat strategy of Rommel in North-Africa standing in the tradition of the Bedouins. Although Rommel committed suicide in October 1944 due to imminent punishment after a rebellion of officers against Hitler, this place made me dazzled and speechless however as the complete museum did simply ignore the devastation of great parts of Europe, the holocaust and the millions of deaths as a result of Nazi-German cruelties.
The course of time created surreal landscapes here being once the meeting rooms of famous and powerful people. But I had more places to discover in Egypt, so my time in Siwa was limited because now the endless Nile valley was calling me.
Next Egyptian tour: Luxor and Assuan (in a few days)
Report on Abu Simbel: https://transmutation.me/2018/06/13/oriental-spotlights/
Report on Mt. Sinai: http://transmutation.me/2018/08/05/sinais-ancient-traditions/
Report on Alexandria: