Lake Qaroun (ancient Lake Moeris) is a nature reserve in the governorate of El-Fayoum. It was declared a nature reserve in 1989 with a view to protecting and conserving the area’s biological, archaeological and geological diversity. The reserve comprises 1155 km2 of land and 230 square km of water. The lake is rich with various kinds of fish 45 meters below sea level in addition to many charming species of mammals, reptiles and birds. Besides, many archaeological and geological formations can be obtained from the rare fossils the reserve contains. One can immerse in the splendid view of 88 species of birds (including flamingoes) gracefully flying around their nests nearby the lake. For a long period, the lake was too salty for fish, until some marine species – including eel, mullet, sole and shrimp – were brought in the 1970’s. Among the several monuments the reserve contains are: El-Sagha (Goldsmiths) Palace from the Middle Kingdom, Abu Lifa Monastery, as well as the remains of the old town of Skitnopius.