Set in a depression covering over 200 Sq. kilometers. Bahareya is about 200 kms. South-west of Cairo. It is surrounded by Black Hills made up of ferruginous quartzite and dolorite. Most of the Villages and cultivated land here can be viewed from the top of the 50-meter-high Jebel Al-Mi'ysrah
From an archaeological point of view, little seems to have survived from the pharaonic period. The Greco-Roman period on the other hand is represented by one of the most important discoveries of the last years, a huge cemetery (about 6 square kilometres) in the area of el-Bawiti, the capital of Bahareya. More than one archaeological site is said to have been discovered by chance after a donkey stumbled into something, which led to the discovery of an untouched cemetery dating from the first and second centuries B.C.
The one hundred or so mummies that have been unearthed so far are beautifully decorated, some covered with a layer of gold, some wearing painted masks, some buried in pottery coffins and some wrapped in linen. Archaeologists excavating there expect to unearth over 10,000 mummies.
The remains of a settlement in this area and probably an extended system of subterranean aqueducts still in use today also belong to the Graeco-Roman period. Among the scant remains of the previous periods, it is worth mentioning the small temple of Alexander the Great, at Qasr el-Migysbah, apparently the only place where his cartouche and image were discovered in Egypt.
Historically, the Bahareya Oasis, now dued the "Valley of the Golden Mummies," was a prosperous wine producing region.. Most of the Villages and cultivated land here can be viewed from the top of the 50-meter-high Jebel Al-Mi'ysrah together with the massive dunes which threaten to engulf some of the older settlements. Wildlife is plentiful, especially birds such as wheatears and crops only cover a small percentage of the total area (olives, apricots, rice and corn). Bawiti is the largest Village in the Oasis.
Its picturesque hillside quarter overlooks lush palm groves irrigated by the Ain Al-Bishmo, a natural spring extracted from a rock where in Roman times, water gushed out at 30 C. The neighboring village of Al-Kasr was built on the remains of a 26th Dynasty temple. At Qarat Hilwah, guests can still see Tombs with paintings dating back to the same period. Famous for its Mineral and Sulfur Springs, including Bir Mathar and Bir Al-Ghaba, Bahariya is also known amongst local Bedouin for its informal music and poetry recitals.
Forgotten for 2,000 years, the men and women of the "Valley of the Golden Mummies" have been waiting for eternity in their desert tombs. One can only speculate about the historical value, which the gilded mummies of the Bahareya Oasis hold. Perhaps, just as in the case of King Tutankhamen, the inhabitants of the ancient cemetery, along with their lives, beliefs, and customs have been given a second chance at immortality.
Furthermore after 94 million years, gigantic dinosaur fossils were discovered in Bahareya by the Egyptian Geologic Survey Authority and US Pennsylvania University mission. This discovery deals with the second greatest dinosaur in the world, being about 30 meters long and 75 tons heavy. The first one has been found out in Argentina some years ago. The dinosaur discovered is called “Paralitaitan” (meaning giant of waves), is one of 14 dinosaur sites so far unearthed in the area. Egyptian geologists expect more discoveries, not only of dinosaurs but also of other reptiles.