176 Route 16. FAYUM. Medinet el-Fayum.
through the same canal (i.e. the Bahr Yusuf), both it and the canal retain
water enough for purposes of irrigation. At both ends of the canal there
are lock-gates by means of which the engineers can regulate the influx
and efflux of the water.' The method by which the distribution of the
excess water was accomplished is unknown. Near the modern el-Lahun
there is a lock to this day. — The statement of Herodotus that Lake Moeris
was an artificial construction thus rests upon an error and is moreover
in direct contradiction to Strabo's account, which expressly mentions
that in its size and colour the lake resembled the sea and that its banks
looked like the sea-shore. For the pyramid and statues mentioned by
Herodotus as standing in the lake, see p. 179.
The Fayum forms a separate province. The Inhabitants are fellahin,
or tillers of the soil, and Beduins. To the latter race belong the poor
fishermen who inhabit the banks of the Birket Karun.
From Cairo to el-Wasta (57 M.), see R. 17. Travellers ooming
from Cairo change carriages here and have a considerable time to wait.
The branch-line to the Fayum runs towards the "W., across
cultivated land, to the village of Abu Rddi, beyond which it tra¬
verses a desert tract, and crosses the low and bleak Libyan chain
of hills, reaching its highest point at a level of 190 ft. above the
sea. At (15 M.) Siala (Sela) the Pyramid of el-Lahun (p. 180) is
visible on the horizon to the left. "We cross first the Bahr Sela,
which flows towards the Bahr Yusuf from the N., and then the
Bahr Tamlyeh (p. 178). — Near the station of (18y2 M.) Edwa
(Adweh ; 69 ft.) is a cemetery with the dilapidated tombs of several
shekhs. Numerous palm-branches are placed by the tombstones as
tokens of affection. "We pass the station of el-Maslub and traverse
rich arable land.
23 M. Medinet el-Fayum. — Hotels. Hotel Karoun (landlord,
Alhanase Tasio), pens. 50 pias.; Hotel du Fayoum or Locanda Manuli, plain
but very fair, pens. 40 pias., both near the station.
Medinet el-Fayum, usually known as El-Med'neh, is the chief
town of the province of Fayum and contains about 31,000 inhab.
(including many Greeks). The Bahr Yusuf (-p. 175) flows through
the town, its running water forming a feature quite unusual in
Egyptian towns. The very long covered bazaar contains nothing of
special interest. The dilapidated mosque of Kait Bey, built on a
bridge over the Bahr Yusuf, contains numerous antique columns,
brought from the ancient Arsinoe, some of which have shafts of
polished marble with Arabic inscriptions, and Corinthian and other
capitals. Below the mosque, on the bank of the Bahr Yusuf, are
some remains of ancient masonry. At the "W. end of the town the
Bahr Yusuf radiates into numerous branches. The dilapidated
mosque of Soft situated here forms a picturesque foreground.
To the N. of the town are the extensive rubbish-mounds, known
to the inhabitants as Klmdn Fdris, or 'riders' hills', covering an
area of about 1/2 acre and rising to the height of 65 ft. These mark
the site of Crocodilopolis-Arsinoe.
The ancient Egyptian name of this town was Shetet. It was the centre
of the worship of the crocodile-headed water-god Sobk (the Greek Suchos),
under whose protection the entire lake-land stood. The crocodile was