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Gradually eroded by infrequent rains and slowly collapsing, the Shali remains a prominent feature, towering five stories above the modern town and lit at night by floodlights.It is most easily approached from its southwest side, south of the end of the paved road which curves around from the north side of the Shali.In 1942 while the Italian 136th Infantry Division Giovani Fascisti occupied the oasis, a tiny Egyptian puppet government-in-exile was set up at Siwa.The oasis makes a brief appearance as a base of the LRDG in the 1958 war film Ice Cold in Alex.
Nearby is the ruined temple of Umm Beda (Um Ebeida), and there are also many Roman remains in the vicinity.Several uneven pedestrian streets lead from the southwest end of the Shali into it, the ground rent in places by deep cracks.Many of the unreinforced kershif buildings bordering the streets of the Shali are also split by large cracks, or they are partially collapsed. It lies near the Libyan frontier, 350 miles (560 km) west-southwest of Cairo.The oasis is 6 miles (10 km) long by 4–5 miles (6–8 km) wide and has about 200 springs.
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Ten miles (16 km) northeast is the small oasis of Al-Zaytūn (Zeitun), and westward a chain of little oases and small salty pools extends for about 50 miles (80 km).