Its name in Arabic is Wadi Hitan but it is known as the Valley of the Whales.
For years archaeologists have been unearthing a remarkable collection of whale fossils, all the more surprising because the area is now inland desert in upper Egypt.
It is believed that about 40 million years ago the area was submerged in water, part of the Tethys Sea. As the sea retreated north to the Mediterranean it left a series of unique rock formations and also a cornucopia of fossils.
One of the most exceptional finds was a 37 million-year-old whale from the species Basilosaurus Isis, unearthed by a team led by Prof Philip Gingerich of the University of Michigan in the United States.
But now it has become the subject of a bizarre customs wrangle at Cairo airport.