Qasr El Labeka is also referred to as the Qasr El Labkha. It is an ancient Roman-built fortress dating back to the 5th century AD, and it is one of many ancient sites located in the Kharga Oasis. The Roman mud-brick fortress, built between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD, occupies a sand-choked wadi at the base of the northern escarpment. Its 12-meter (40-foot) walls protected a garrison that monitored passing caravans. And there was a large settlement here supported by a nearby spring. Several manafis (underground aqueducts) brought water from the spring in ancient times. One has been cleared and is now used to cultivate fields.
Location of Qasr El Labeka
Qasr El Labeka is located northeast of Qasr Kharga in Kharga Oasis, not far from El Deir (Monastery of El Munira). It is an extensive site dramatically situated beneath the pastel northern cliffs. It is connected to Ain Umm Dabadib by two desert tracks: a camel track and a caravan trail.
History of Qasr El Labeka
The Roman mud-brick fortress was built between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD. It must have featured prominently in life along the Darb el Arbain, the ancient north-south slaver’s route from Sudan to Asyut, an Egyptian Nile Valley city.
Qasr El Labeka is the most spectacular complex In the area. Qasr El Labeka would have been surrounded by a lush green area close to the Wadi River in Roman times. Now that river is seasonal, and the site has dried up immensely. When travellers first see Qasr El Labeka, they will notice its striking.
The fortress was built on an escarpment, standing high above the old caravan road. While this one is filled with silt, it is still standing enough to give you a real glimpse of historical culture. Most of the walls are still standing, adding to the imposing air. A great deal of the fortress is still preserved. And travellers will even see the ancient aqueduct system used to transport water from the river into the fort. Very few of these aqueducts have survived the test of time.
At Labeka are two temples, at least one aqueduct, a large cemetery and a fortress. As with most of the Roman defensive structures at Kharga Oasis, the fort has rounded towers at each corner. The exterior walls remain intact, while the interior has collapsed into rubble. Recent archaeological work at Labeka may prove that one of the temples belongs to Hercules. This reveal would be a significant discovery. Visitors will also find a few Greco-Roman tombs on-site worths exploring.
Qasr El Labeka is located deep in the desert and is not reachable by bus. It is located close to the ancient town ruins of Ain Umm Dabadib. Tourists plan an excursion; it would be good to visit both simultaneously. The only way to see the area is by camel caravan or by 4×4 off-road vehicle. Modern Egyptians no longer use the caravan route on which the fortress lies.