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Application of GIS to describe historical urban development of Kharga City, Egypt
Arch Ashraf M S Mahrous
Assistant Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering AL-Minia University, Egypt
Prof Eng Mojmir Kyselka
Faculty of Architecture, VUT Brno, Czech republic
Dr Peter Spièa
Associate Prof, Arch. Dept. Faculty of Civil Slovak Technical University
The Cities are like trees; both of them grow under natural limits. These limits affect in the formulation of a city’s master plan. The historical urban development of cities is usually used for defining the main direction of a city’s development. One of the objectives of any master plan is to guide urban development by studing the natural properties of the city borders and to determine a suitable direction of city growth. (Antar Korain 1997, P. 153). Rodgers has suggested that the second part of a master plan must be a historical background of the city, aiming to define the effective factors in urban development. (A K Alam, 1983). The historical background should include general information for understanding the effective factors on the city’s form. (Antar Korain 1997, P. 157). The need for GIS is driven by factors such as population growth and urbanisation, which in turn create various types of geo-referenced data. Information of this kind lends itself well to the analytical capabilities of GIS. (Henk J. Scholten and John C. H. Stillwell, 1990, P. 30). GIS has the ability to create, store, edit, visualise, analyse, and present the data which is needed for carrying out the historical and future studies of the urban growth of the city.
This paper aims at supporting the master plan of Kharga City by defining the main direction of growth of Kharga City by analysing its old and recent historical urban growth.
The old historical growth
The oases area, in Egypt’s western desert, has played a significant role over various ages of the old Egyptian history. Kharga’s long history and ancient civilisation is described in several monuments going back to many ages starting from B.C. until the Islamic age.
The 2nd dynasty (5000 B.C.) had registered in Gabal El-Tayer monuments that Kharga was famous for its agricultural activity.
In the Pharaonic era Kharga oasis was called a “plough “,the Dakhla oasis was termed as “southern oasis”, while Farafra oasis was named a “cow”, which clearly speaks of welfare-as such areas were fully cultivated. Kharga and Dakhla oases, in the Pharaonic era, were one region affiliated to “Thani” region near Suhag serving the as vital defense front-line of Egypt to stand against any offensive either from the west or the south. The 26th Pharaonic dynasty(650:565B.C.) constructed Hebas temple in Kharga whereas the 27th dynasty (since 522 B.C.) built the Ghewata temple.
Persian Qambiz invaded Egypt in the 6th Century B.C.,but the King the first Dara had finished the engraving of Hebas and Ghewata temples which were like castles, overlooking any invaders coming through the Darb AL Arbaen.
In the Greek-Roman era, agriculture had developed.The Romans had dug wells in fertile lands which were known as “Roman eyes”. The Romans also had created in architectural field, during Antonus’s reign at the beginning of the 2nd century many monuments that had been built such as the AL-Nadoura temple, EL-Dear fortressand the, Qaser AL-Zian temple. (Ashraf M. S. Mahrous, 1998)
In third and fourth centuries B.C., when Roman suppression towards of Christians increased, too many of Egypt’s Copts (Christians) fled to such oases, EL-Bagawat cemetery and church, Aen Mostfa AL-Kashef monastery, AL-Monera monastery, and Shams AL-Dean monastery all indicate Christian presence on Kharga at the time of advent of Islam to Egypt.
Fig. (1): Development curve of land uses areas
Since the Islam’s entry into Egypt life started to become stable and safe.Simplicity of life was the main feature of the oases, which were considered separated for mainstream Egyptians life. It was named “nomad’s life” until the beginning of the domination republicans in Egypt.
The recent historical growth: -
It was clear that old history had been preserved on the walls of temples and monuments. But recent history must be preserved on computer systems in a digital form, which is the modern view. The next section explains as to how to create a comprehensive historical background and define the main direction of urban growth of the Kharga City using the GIS techniques.
Fig. (1-A): enlargement of the lower right corner