Night Boat Riding At Qaroun Lake Egypt Wonder
I've visited the Fayoum 3 times now and every time I love it more and I feel I get another layer to it. It's a great day out and one day I just might stay in the camp too. We took a boat out onto the lake this time.. lovely!
Lake Qarun, located about 80 kilometers southwest of Cairo in the Egyptian Fayoum not far from the Nile Valley, is one of Egypt's most treasured natural landmarks and a resource that has helped support human culture for some 8,000 years. It is the only natural contemporary lake of any size in Middle Egypt. It is therefore rich in both natural and archaeological resources.
Lake Qarun is the third largest lake in Egypt and the second most famous one after Lake Nasser in the Southern part of Egypt. It lies some 45 meters below sea level and occupies the lowest, northern section of the Fayoum depression. People in Fayoum believe that if one has not visited the lake then one has not visited the Fayoum.
Within the Fayoum, it is simply referred to as the Berka, which means "the small lake" in Arabic. The lake has the most beautiful picturesque views and taking a small boat on the lake is a wonderful experience.
The lake has an interesting history and there are some fascinating theories about how it came to be known as Lake Qarun. The lake and the nearby Qaser Qarun are said to take their names from the Greco-Roman city of Karanis to the east. However, the lake was known in the thirteenth century, some eight hundred years after the abandonment of Karanis, as Birka El Seid, or "the lake of fishing" in Arabic.
Therefore, many believe that it is unlikely that Karanis would today influence the lake's name.
Others claim a connection with the word Qarn, or "horn" in Arabic, and indeed E W Lane recorded in the 1820 the name of the lake as Birka Qarn. He said that it took its name from the island in the middle, which has a small horn peak. However, Lane was the only one who claimed this explanation. Travelers both before and after him gave the name of the lake as Qarun.
The most popular story is that the lake and the temple take their name from an individual who was suppose to have lived in the area, and who is mentioned in both the bible (Numbers 16) and the Quran (al-Qasas 76).
In the bible, he appears as Korah, who rebels against Moses and is promptly punished by god, being swallowed up in the earth along with his entire family and possessions. In the Quran, he appears as a man exultant in his richness.
It is a well known story in Egypt that this man had the ability to touch anything and turn it into gold. Some believe that his treasure is still hidden somewhere under the water of the lake. This man finally meets the wrath of god, again by being swallowed up in the earth. The Quran states that, God does not love the exultant."