Info – Why Zerzura?

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.

5 thoughts on “Info – Why Zerzura?

    1. Thanks Sarah 🙂 The worst parasitic infection you can get in the Sahara is the Sahara itself… it never leaves you. One of the British explorers from the 1930s said that it was too easy to get enmeshed into ‘normal’ life back home ….. “then comes some trivial sense-impression – the hot varnish smell of a car standing in the sun, a cloudless sunset, the finding of sand grains in the pocket of an old coat. Out comes the map again; and the eye hovers over some blank space still further away which nobody has ever reached. Happy calculations follow about petrol and distances – dreams of just one more desert trip”

      1. How utterly enthralling.
        As Someone once said. ” you can always tell at a glance, on a first meeting if the person has been to the desert.” It’s an utterly Life changing experience which casts aside mundane stagnant redundant attitudes and allows a higher perspective .

      2. Its more peaceful than anywhere Ive ever seen (and part of that is the psychological effect of it). It’s like stepping into a huge art installation. Planning a big Morocco trip in the summer – need to get back into big open desert again! Your Greek pics are lovely by the way

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