Baris Travel Guide

"Echoes of History and Architectural Dreams: The Enigmatic Charm of Baris Oasis"

Baris Oasis, nestled 90 kilometers south of Al-Kharga in Egypt, stands as a testament to the rich history and architectural aspirations that have shaped its existence. Once a thriving center of trade on the Darb al-Arba’een caravan route, this oasis is imbued with stories of a bustling past, where merchants and travelers intermingled, creating a vibrant hub of commerce and exchange. However, the passage of time has transformed this once-busy locale into a peaceful retreat, where the echoes of its illustrious history gently resonate.

Today, Baris Oasis is a serene sanctuary, offering a window into a more unassuming way of life. The landscape is dotted with quaint kiosks serving traditional Egyptian cuisine, such as fuul (fava beans) and ta’amiyya (felafel). These culinary delights not only satiate the taste buds but also serve as a connection to the local heritage, offering a taste of the region’s rich culinary traditions.

One of the most striking features of the oasis is Baris al-Gedida, located approximately 2 kilometers north of the original town. This area is particularly significant as it showcases the visionary work of Hassan Fathy, Egypt’s renowned modern architect. Fathy’s designs in Baris al-Gedida are a homage to traditional architectural practices and materials. His vision was to create a model for new settlements that would blend modern needs with historical architectural wisdom.

Sadly, the ambitious development of Baris al-Gedida was interrupted by the onset of the Six-Day War in 1967. This unforeseen event halted the project’s progress, and as a result, only two houses and a few public buildings were completed. These structures, albeit limited in number, provide a glimpse into Fathy’s unfulfilled dream. They stand as enduring symbols of architectural innovation that is deeply rooted in the cultural and historical heritage of the region.

Baris Oasis, with its intriguing mix of historical resonance and architectural fascination, remains a hidden gem. It’s a place where history whispers from every corner, offering a tranquil escape and a journey back in time. Visitors to this quiet, unassuming destination are afforded a unique opportunity to explore Egypt’s vast and storied landscape, where the past and the present merge in a beautiful, enigmatic dance.

Created On May 4, 2020

Updated On April 27, 2024

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