National Geographic : 1968 Jan
Nature on a spree chiseled towering cones from volcanic debris in Turkey's Goreme Valley, part of ancient Cappadocia. Man carved out the interiors, making comfortable homes, some of them six stories high, fitted with stone divans, chairs, and stoves. Refuges for early "Now Cairo is the hub of Egypt. Alexandria is like an empty stage. All the actors are gone the aristocracy, the landowners, the foreign elements-everyone that gave the city life." Arrian relates that "an overmastering de sire came upon Alexander," while he was lay ing out Alexandria, to pay a visit to Ammon, the famous Oracle at Siwa Oasis, some 300 miles southwest. With considerable difficulty, we located an intrepid taxi driver willing to tackle the trip across the desert. Meter click ing, the Mercedes taxi started for Siwa. Alexander took weeks to reach the oasis. We made better time on an asphalt road be- tween the yellow desert and the blue-green sea. At El Alamein a few rusty half-tracks, tanks, and guns recall the crucial World War II battle between Rommel and Montgomery. Three monuments honor the thousands of British, German, and Italian dead. Siwa Maidens Display Trousseaus Soon we turned south away from the coast, following a line of telephone poles across the flat, hard gravel desert. Our driver's sigh of relief was audible, even over the motor, when the date palms, ponds, and green fields of Siwa blossomed from behind a butte.