The Oasis of Al-Kharga was a prosperous place in ancient times and was linked with the Nile Valley by many trade routes. Herodotus mentions that the great Persian King Campuses sent a huge army from Thebes in order to destroy the Oracle Temple of Amon-Zeus at Siwa. 50,000 men strong, they reached Al-Kharga Oasis, stopped for food and water and continued their march towards Siwa. Then, all 50,000 of them simply vanished in the Western Desert. Some historians suggest that the Persian army sunk in the Great Sea of Sand which extends along the borders between Egypt and Libya, nut no one is sure exactly want happened to them to this day.
The Temple of Hibis is one of the few well preserved Persian monuments remaining in Egypt. Dating from the 6th century BC, it features painted vultures and huge reliefs of Darius greeting Egyptian gods on its outer walls. 10 Km away, the Necropolis of al-Bagawat contains 263 mud-brick chapels with Coptic murals, including the Chapel of Peace with images of Adam and Eve and the Ark on its dome and the Chapel of the Exodus with frescoes of Pharaonic troops pursuing Moses and the Jews out of Egypt.
The temple of Dush some 125 kilometres south of Al Kharga is deep in the Sahara Desert. Called Kysis in ancient times, few of Egypt's ruins are more remote, but this was a major military installation during the Roman period. The Temple of Al Ghuwaytah is dedicated to the Theban Triad (Amun, Mut and Khonsu) and dates back to the 27th Dynasty. It was completed by Ptolemy III, IV and X and is one of the few temples in the area that is completely Ptolemaic in origin. Al Zayyan Temple is thought to be Greek originally, although the temple itself is part of a fortress chain built during the Ptolemaic period when it was known as the Great Well (Tchonemyris).