Up against its backdrop of sheltering pink and white cliffs, Dakhla arises like a mirage.
A rich patchwork of shifting yellow dunes, red earth, green farmland, and ancient mud-brick villages, the oasis was once a breadbasket for the Roman Empire, and those fields and orchards that fed the empire still flourish on the same iron-rich soil.

A number of significant sites from antiquity are spread across the oasis,
including the restored Roman-era Temple of Deir al-Hagar, the ruins of a large Roman settlement called Amheida, and the tombs of several Old Kingdom governors. Yet Dakhla is better known for its fortified Islamic towns, most notably Al-Qasr and Balat, which are built on Roman foundations and probably sit atop pharaonic settlements. Even there, the history feels late: strong architectural evidence suggests that the oasis has been inhabited continually since Neolithic times.