Zerzura…. an allegory for that which is unattainable, the desire of the heart, always beyond reach. Zerzura has been called the wish-oasis, a lost oasis hidden in the heart of the Sahara, somewhere to the west of the Nile Valley.
An anonymous 15th-century Arabic treasure-hunters’ guide, Al Ktab al-Kudnuz,“The Book of Hidden Pearls,” describes Zerzura as a whitewashed city of the desert on whose gate is carved a bird. The treasure seeker is advised to “take with your hand the key in the beak of the bird, then open the door of the city. Enter, and there you will find great riches….”
Zerzura became the goal of a group of early 20th Century desert explorers, led by Englishman Ralph Bagnold (and also amongst them Lazlo Almasy – the much less heroic real-world model for the English Patient). They never found it (though Almasy feels he did). In fact Bagnold hinted that Zerzura became a metaphor for all that is wild, beautiful and impossibly remote….
“I like to think of Zerzura as something waiting to be discovered in some out-of-the-way place. As long as any part of the world remains uninhabited, Zerzura will be there”.
As for me, I love the deep silences and open spaces of the desert – to be as remote from “civilisation” with all it’s greed and materialism, as possible. I travel wherever I can. This blog is the spewings of a mind and a life searching for Zerzura…. always in hope.