Karshif building decorated with the Eye of Horus, Siwa Oasis - Monika Sleszynska
CAIRO – 1 September 2017: Local architecture of Siwa has its own twist. If you visit the oasis try eco sleep at the natural mud-brick Karshif house.
Karshif house in Siwa Oasis - Monika Sleszynska
Siwa oasis in the Western Desert is known for its unique microclimate, culture and landscapes. The Karshif (also Kershief or Kershef) buildings are one of the most distinctive and iconic features in the scenery of the oasis.
Fortress Shaly in the centre of Siwa town - Monika Sleszynska
Karshif is the original and natural building material in traditional Siwan architecture. The solid housing substance comes from the mixture made of mud, salt and other minerals from the Siwan salt lake. This earthy architecture blends harmoniously with the colors of sandy desert, green palm trees and blue sky.
Karshif architecture blends into the landscape and colours of the oasis . Taziry Eco Lodge, Siwa Oasis - Monika Sleszynska
The most important feature of the houses is to keep temperature inside cool during the hot summer and warm in the winter in a natural way. The doors and windows are positioned selectively to hide from the sun and allow a suitable airflow without the need for air conditioning.
An interior of typical Siwan Karshif house is of natural earthy colours and palm tree ceilings - Monika Sleszynska
The ceilings inside the houses are fitted with the wood of palm trees, which also acts to keep the temperature appropriate to the climate in a natural way; cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The natural environment provides for an authentic taste of nature. Ghaliet Eco Lodge, Siwa Oasis - Monika Sleszynska
You can imagine the feel of natural earthy material. Sleeping in a building made of Karshif is deeply relaxing and rejuvenating and offers the experience of a true return to nature. The furnishing is usually made of wood. Simple decorations may include locally made handicrafts and carpets.
The flexibility of the material allows for a plenty of creativity. Ghaliet Eco Lodge, Siwa oasis.
The simplicity of combining traditional knowledge about the gifts of nature, together with the beautiful landscapes of the oasis, creates a unique organic setting for experiencing the beauty of the desert and nights under the stars.
The remains of Shaly fortress form an iconic image of Siwa town center where the architecture blends into the natural landscape of the oasis - Monika Sleszynska
One of the iconic Siwan buildings are the remains of Shaly fortress. Originally a 60-meter high structure, much of the fortress was eroded during a three-day period of heavy rain in 1926.
Today, the lower parts of the structure are still homes to Siwans, the original inhabitants of the oasis.
The remains of Shaly fortress by night in Siwa oasis - Monika Sleszynska
While the Karshif houses in Siwa are most likely equipped with electricity, the remote nature locations likely rely on solar panels or candle light, which adds to an authentic experience of nature and enhances the relaxation.
Walking at night up the remaining structure of Shaly fortress is a magical experience. The lightning of the town center creates a unique variety of shapes and atmospheric shadows.
Natural oil torch lights the entrance square at Taziry Eco Lodge - Monika Sleszynska
You can truly feel as if you were in another world or a fairy tale. Add the traditional oil lamps or candles at night and you will enter into an atmospheric mood reminiscent of the Arabian nights where time stands still and the wind whispers its joys.
The Karshif architecture blends organically into the landscapes surrounding Siwa oasis - Monika Sleszynska
Those who have experienced the beauty of nature and desert in the oasis return to be enchanted deeper each time. Staying at the Karshif building is a unique experience which will make your stay magical and unforgettable.