Photography by: Fatima Shaaban
By the end of 2021, a small, quiet village at the far northern end of Egypt's Kafr el-Sheikh Governorate had become a tourist destination that Egyptians had known nothing about before.
"Shakhlouba" is a small village for fishermen, located on the shores of Lake Manzala, which the administrative borders place in the control of "Kafr el-Sheikh" on the western edge of the Nile Delta. But it is located close to Beheira Governorate, which includes the western branch of the Nile, thus making it close to the city of Rashid (aka Rosetta), which in turn is known as one of the quietest and most beautiful Egyptian cities.
However, Shakhlouba, which is famous for its pictures of houses located on tiny islands in the middle of the lake, has become one of the most famous tourist attractions inside the country, after Egyptians began calling it the local "Venice" of Egypt. What makes it even more beautiful is the fact that it does not need a passport or visa, or a perilous journey across the Mediterranean to reach it.
Shakhlouba, which is famous for its pictures of houses located on tiny islands in the middle of the lake, has become one of the most famous tourist attractions within the country, after Egyptians began calling it the local "Venice" of Egypt
Shakhlouba is home to about 20,000 inhabitants who live on fishing and agricultural activities, and more recently, tourism, attracting thousands of adventure and photography enthusiasts in search of fun and recreation. Its allure is increased by the simple life of its residents and the fact that its charming homes can be reached via sailboats.
The village has two entrances. One is a natural entrance by land, and the other is by crossing the lake through two islands located there.
By virtue of its location in Lake Manzala, Shakhlouba is surrounded by the Nile River on one side, and the Mediterranean Sea on the other.
Most of its inhabitants engage in small-scale fishing or professions related to it, such as the manufacture of ships and boats, as well as the manufacture of "fishing yarn" and its tools, and the manufacture of woolen covers and kilim (a type of local Egyptian carpet).
The village market, like those in other fishermen's villages in Egypt, witnesses fresh fish auctions on a daily basis.
The breeding of pastoral animals such as goats, sheep and cows is a widespread practice in "Shakhlouba". It is also rich in various trees and plants, and has now become a tourist destination for visitors and tourists from Egypt and abroad, with the beauty and tranquility of the region, the clarity of the air, and the serene atmosphere attracting dozens of trips annually.
The people of Lower Egypt call Shakhlouba the "village of magic and beauty". Its allure is increased by the simple life of its residents and the fact that its charming island homes can be reached via sailboats
The people of Lower Egypt call Shakhlouba the "village of magic and beauty" because it is characterized by natural beauty and the number of crafts that thrive in it, especially those of a touristic nature, such as renting tourist vessels and boats. Also, its restaurants are famous for serving a wide variety of fish dishes at affordable prices.
In the middle of the Shakhlouba islands is a group of houses dating back to more than half a century. It was originally a place for selling fish, and was frequented by fish traders from all governorates of Egypt, and now – in addition to the fish trade – it has become an attractive destination and a place of rest for tourists to relax and spend leisure time amidst breathtaking natural scenery.
One of the most beautiful sights that a visitor can see there are the rows of sailboats that transport visitors from the river bank to the various islands, in addition to the many fish farms located there. Despite its need for many services, residents fear that it will be affected by the "development" that has destroyed many of Egypt's spectacular tourist sites in recent years.
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