458 Route 9. MEDINET EL-FAYUM. Fayum.
left bank of the river, and sometimes of the opposite bank also.
The Nile with its lateen sails is frequently visible to the left, while
on the right we obtain glimpses of the Pyramids, rich corn-fields,
canals, water wheels, palm-groves, and villages with tall dovecots
in rapid succession. The journey has already been described as
far as (14 M.) Bedrashen (see p. 372). We next observe on the
Tight the pyramids of Dahshur and the so-called false pyramid of
Medum (see p. 467). AbH Ragwdn, Kafr ed-Dabai, Kafr el- Ay at,
Kafr Amar, and Girzeh are unimportant stations.
51 M. Wasta (post and telegraph office) lies in the midst of
a large palm-grove, a few hundred yards to the left of the line, in
the direction of the Nile. The line to the Fayum here diverges to
the right from the line to Upper Egypt (Beni-Suef and Siut; comp.
pp. 470, 224).
The branch-line to the Fayum runs towards the W., across
cultivated land, to the village of Bush, where the dovecots are
roofed in a style resembling the gables of European houses of the
17th century. Beyond this point the train traverses a desert tract
for 35 min., and then crosses the low and bleak Libyan chain of
hills. On the right, beyond these, we again perceive cultivated
land, and the village of 'Adua (station). On the left is a cemetery
with the dilapidated tombs of several shekhs. Numerous palm-
branches are placed by the tombstones as tokens of affection. We
now traverse rich arable land, and soon reach —
Medinet el-Fayum, the 'town of the lake-district', situated to
the S. of the site of Crocodilopolis-Arsinoe, the ancient capital of
the province. It contains about 9000 inhab., and is a not unpleasing
specimen of an Egyptian town. Between the station and the town
we observe a peculiar, undershot sakiyeh, or water-wheel driven
by the water itself. The very long covered bazaar contains nothing
of special interest. The traveller, even if unprovided with an in¬
troduction, should pay a visit to the mudir, who will protect him
from extortion in case of any difficulty with the owners of horses
and others (comp. p. 456). Quarters for the night may be procured
at the house of the Italian cure (an introduction to whom had better
be obtained from the French monks at Cairo), but not elsewhere
without difficulty. A broad arm of the Bahr Yfisuf (p. 456) flows
through the middle of the town. The mosque of Kait Bey (p. 268),
on the N. side of the town, now somewhat dilapidated, is the only
interesting building of the kind. It 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. No ancient inscriptions
have been discovered here, but the walls of some of the houses
contain fragments which must have belonged to ancient temples.
— To the N. of the town are the extensive ruins of Crocodilopolis-