This is a fully revised guide to one of Egypt's most beautiful natural areas. The Fayoum, a large and exceptionally fertile depression in Egypt's Western Desert, some 90 kilometers southwest of Cairo, is a region both rich in history and outstanding in natural beauty. Its historical legacy includes temples, pyramids, and towns from the Middle Kingdom and the Ptolemaic Period, as well as churches, monasteries, and mosques from later times. Its farmland, watered by the region's landmark waterwheels, is among the most generous in Egypt, and its landscape is varied and beautiful.The large and ancient lake Qarun nestles in the north between the soft green land and the harsh but dramatic desert scarp, while two new lakes, connected by Egypt's only waterfalls, have been created in the once barren Wadi al-Rayyan to the west, bringing fishermen, farmers, and visitors to the desert. The Fayoum's wildlife unfortunately no longer includes the crocodile, which was sacred here in ancient times, but boasts swamp cats and mongooses, spoonbills and flamingos.Neil Hewison here outlines the history (and prehistory) of the Fayoum and its lakes, describes the agriculture and rural life of the region, then guides the visitor around the province site by site, never averse to taking an interesting detour along the way.Originally published in 1984, this guide to one of Egypt's most distinctive and beautiful regions quickly became regarded as a classic. The text has been thoroughly revised and updated for this new edition, including a new section on the recently declared UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wadi al-Hitan, the Valley of the Whales. The book is illustrated with color photographs and two maps.