Fayum. BIRKET EL-KURUN. 9. Route. 465
of the village. The handsome house of the Shekh el-Beled offers
good accommodation, and even quarters for the night. The trav¬
eller should make a bargain here for a boat with the shekh of the
fishermen. About 30 fr. for the day, and a bakshish for the
rowers (of whom 6-8 are necessary for speed), are demanded.
SenhuT stands on the site of an ancient, and not unimportant,
town, of which large heaps of ruins still remain. Roman walls are
traceable in many places. A large building has recently been ex¬
cavated by the peasants for the sake of obtaining the hard bricks
of which it is built, but part of it had already been removed. No
remains of columns or inscriptions have been met with.
The traveller, after having ridden to the lake, should not forget to
order his horses, which return to Senhur, to await him for the return-
journey at the spot where he has quitted them, or to order them to meet
him in good time on the bank of the lake by Nezleh (see p. 467).
The Birket el-Kurun (the 'lake of the horns') owes its name to
its shape, which resembles that of slightly bent cows' horns. It
measures 34 M. in length, and, at its broadest part, is about 61/.) M.
wide. It is situated on the same level as the Mediterranean, and
its depth averages 13 ft. The greenish water is slightly brackish
(but not unpleasant to the taste), and abounds in fish, some of
which are very palatable. The right of fishing is let by government,
and the whole of the fishermen dwelling on the banks of the lake
are in the service of the lessee, who receives one-half of the catch.
The boats (merkeb) are very simply constructed, being without
deck or mast; the traveller must take up his quarters on the floor¬
ing in the stern; none of the boats have sails, for, as the fish al¬
ways go in the same direction as the wind, the fishermen have to
row against the wind in order to catch them. Numerous pelicans,
wild duck, and other water-fowl, frequent the lake. The banks
are extremely sterile ; on the N. side are barren hills of considerable
height. In the middle of the lake rises a mass of rock, resembling
a table, and serving as a landmark. Near the S. bank, from E. to
W., lie the villages of Kafr Tamiyeh, Senhur, AbH Kesi, Bisheh, Abu
Genshun, and Nezleh; the ruins of Dimeh are situated on the N.
bank, but there are no other villages of importance.
To Kasr Karun across the Birket el-Kurun. We row to the
promontory of Khashm Khalil, overgrown with tamarisks and
reeds, the creeks of which afford good landing-places. Ascending
thence across the desert, we reach the temple in the desert in about
l'/4 hours. The fishermen object to pass the night on the bank in
the neighbourhood of Kasr Karun, being afraid of the Beduins and
the 'Afdrit' (evil spirits).
Kasr Karun is a tolerably well preserved temple, probably of
the Roman, or, at the earliest, of the Ptolemaic period. Before
reaching it we observe numerous traces of an ancient town,
which has now disappeared. The ground is strewn with blocks
of hewn stone, burnt bricks, broken pottery, and fragments of
Baedeker's Egypt I. 2nd Ed. ;-}()