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Kharga (khärˈgə) [key] or Al Kharijah äl khärˈēnjä, large oasis (1986 pop. 38,544), S central Egypt, in the Libyan (Western) Desert. Populated chiefly by Arab Bedouins and Arab-speaking Berbers, the irrigated oasis produces cereals, vegetables, olives, dates, citrus fruits, and alfalfa. Cattle and poultry are also raised. Al Kharga, the chief settlement, is a rail terminus. The oasis was prosperous in ancient times; the earliest known significant settlement there dates to 1650 B.C. The ruins there include temples built by the Achaemenids of ancient Persia and by the Romans.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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