After the noise and crowds of Cairo, the Fayoum oasis, which includes Lake Qaroun, is literally a breath of fresh air. The oasis offers both Egyptian and foreign visitors a relaxing break from city life, a day at the beach and a chance to see oasis life without having to venture too far. It has ancient monuments as well. A relaxing day or two in the Fayoum Oasis is strongly recommended for those in Cairo who are beginning to feel claustrophobic. The Fayoum Oasis is a manmade oasis and also the largest oasis in Egypt. Although usually described as an oasis, Fayoum is not fed by underground water, like the western Sahara Desert oases further south west, but by water from the Nile transported to this natural triangular depression by a series of canals. Having irrigated the oasis, the water runs into Lake Qaroun which despite having dramatically shrunk over the past few thousand years, is at about 215 sq km and still Egypt's largest natural salt-water lake.
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