Besides the oases the desert is remarkable for two other valleys.
These oases were known and occupied by the Egyptians as early as 1600 s.c., and Kharga (q.v.) rose to special importance at the time of the Persian occupation.
It belongs to the series of oases (Uch-Turfan, Bai, Koucha, &c.) situated at the southern foot of the eastern T'ien-shan mountains.
The other four oases lie parallel to and distant 100 to 150 m.
In the oases of Sahara, and in other parts of Northern Africa, dates are pounded and pressed into a cake for food.
The oases of Sakaka and Kara are situated in a similar basin 15 m.
The other desert regions of Egypt are elevated stony plateaus, which are diversified by extensively excavated valleys and oases, and in which sand frequently plays quite a subordinate part.
East of the oases of Baharia and Farafra is a very striking line of these sand dunes; rarely more than 3 miles wide, it extends almost continuously from Moghara in the north, passing along the west side of Kharga Oasis to a point near the Nile in the neighborhood of Abu Siinbelhaving thus a length of nearly 550 m.
Oases.In the western desert lie the five large oases of Egypt, namely, Siwa, Baharia, Farafra, Dakhla and Kharga or Great Oasis, occupying depressions in the plateau or, in the case of the last three, large indentations in the face of limestone escarpments which form the western versant of the Nile valley hills.
In general barren, the country contains several oases, with a total population of about 10,000.
Phoenicia and the Lebanon have the densest population, over 70 to the square mile, while Palestine, the north part of the western plateau east of Jordan, the oases of Damascus and Aleppo, the Orontes valley, and parts of Cornmagene, are well peopled.
These poljes may be described as oases in what is otherwise a desert expanse of mountains.
But the string of oases in Kan-suh province, which stretches between the towns named, lies on the lower level of the Mongolian plateau (4000 to 5000 ft.), so that the Lung-shan ought possibly to be regarded as a continuation of the Pe-shan mountains of the Gobi.
This country consists of seven oases, five in close proximity and two isolated.
They are the termination of a stony plateau, containing several small oases, which southward joins the more arid and uninhabitable wastes of the Libyan Desert.
This is especially the case where there is also shade to protect them from the midday sun, as in some of the narrow ravines in the eastern desert and in the palm groves of the oases, where various ferns and flowers grow luxuriantly round the springs.
Such art as continued was almost wholly religious; for in the wilderness of the times the churches formed oases of comparative prosperity and peace, and, even in the darkest times, wherever such oases existed there the seeds of art took root.
Long from north to south and about so wide - a low flat space of sandy waste with cultivated oases and palm groves of great luxuriance and beauty.
These villages, built in oases dotted over the desert, nestle in groves of datepalms and fruit trees and waving fields of barley.
In still more western fields of research much additional light has been thrown since 1875 on the physiography of the great deserts and oases of Arabia.
For the rest, Syria needs irrigation; and since neither of its larger rivers, Orontes or Jordan, flowing as these do in deep beds, is of much use for this purpose, all Mid-Syria, except the lacustrine oases, is a region mainly occupied by pastures, and yielding only thin cereal crops.
Akhdar, is perhaps the most fertile district in the peninsula; Hadramut, too, contains many large and prosperous villages, and the torrents from the Yemen highlands fertilize several oases in the Tehama (or Tihama) or lowlands of the western and southern coast.
Palgrave says little of the desert part of the journey or of its Bedouin inhabitants, but much of the fertility of the oases and of the civility of the townsmen; and like other travellers in Nejd he speaks with enthusiasm of its bright, exhilarating climate.
Water is found in it a few feet below the surface, and a little cultivation is carried on at the small oases of Kaf and Ithri, whence salt produced in the neighbouring salt lakes is exported.
Kasim and Wushm, where the water in the wadi beds rises nearly to the ground level, numerous fertile oases are found with thriving villages and towns.
In the north-west the Dhahira district sloping towards the Jewasimi coast is more steppe-like in character; but there two oases of great fertility are found, of which Birema, visited by both Miles and Zwemer, supports a population of 15,000.
This distinction between the characteristics of the two races is only true in a general sense, for a considerable population of true Bedouin origin has settled down to agricultural life in the oases of Hejaz and Nejd, while in southern Arabia the tribes dwelling on the fringe of the great desert have to a certain extent adopted the nomad life.
This abundant supply of fresh warm water maintains oases of extraordinary luxuriance in a country where rain falls very rarely.
In the oases of the Jerid are found several species of tropical African mammals and two or three of Senegalese birds, and the vegetation seems to have as much affinity with tropical Africa as with Europe.
Natives of Morocco and of the Sahara oases occasionally bring with them young baboons which they assert are obtained in various Sahara countries to the south and south-west of Tunisia.
It is the Tsure-zure-gusa (Materials/or Dispelling Ennui), by KenkO-bOshi, described by Mr Aston as one of the most delightful oases in Japanese literature; a collection of short sketches, anecdotes and essays on all imaginable subjects, something in the manner of Seldens Table Talk.
The Tarim, which is on the whole a sluggish, shallow, winding stream, fringes the great desert of Takla-makan on the west, north and east, and, after being extensively drawn upon for irrigation purposes in the oases (Yarkand, Kashgar, Maral-bashi, Ak-su), through which it passes, it eventually dies away in the salt reed-grown lake or marsh of Lop-nor (Karakoshun).
Along the south foot of the Tian-shan, and in the high valleys which intervene between the constituent ranges of that system, there exist numerous flourishing oases, such as Uch-turfan, Ak-su, Kucha, Korla, Kara-shahr, Hami, Barkul, Turfan, Urumchi, Manas and Kulja.
A similar string of oases exist all along the north foot of the Kuen-lun, e.g.
The wild camel frequents the scattered oases along the margins of the desert and roams into the desert itself.
In 1352 the restless man started for Central Africa, passing by the oases of the Sahara (where the houses were built of rock-salt, as Herodotus tells, and roofed with camel skins) to Timbuktu and Gogo on the Niger, a river which he calls the Nile, believing it to flow down into Egypt, an opinion maintained by some up to the date of Lander's discovery.
KHARGA (WAH EL-KIIARGA, the outer oasis), the largest of the Egyptian oases, and hence frequently called the Great Oasis.
Of Dakhla is the oasis of Farafra, population about 1000, said to be the first of the oases conquered by the Moslems from the Christians.
The Murghab river and the Hari Rud, which terminate in the oases of Mer y and Sarakhs, almost certainly penetrated to the gulf of the Kara Kum, but the question whether the Oxus was ever deflected so as to enter the gulf with the Murghab cannot be said to be answered decisively at present.
This is, of course, due to the excess of evaporation over the amount of water supplied by its two feeders, the Amu-darya and the Syrdarya, both of which are seriously drawn upon for irrigation in all the oases they flow through.
Outside the Nile valley on the west are temples- in the Great and Little Oases and the Oasis of Ammon: on the east quarries and stelae on the Hammamat road to the Red Sea, and mines and other remains at Wadi Maghara and SerbIt el Khgdim in the Sinai peninsula.
Egypt normally included the whole of the Nile valley from the First Cataract to the sea; pure Egyptians, however, formed the population of Lower Nubia above the Cataract in prehistori.c times; at some periods also the land was divided into separate kingdoms, while at others Egypt stretched southward into Nubia, and it generally claimed the neighboring Libyan deserts and oases on the west and the Arabian deserts on the east to the shore of the Red Sea, with Sinai and the Mediterranean coast as far as Rhinocorura (El Arish).