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Little Egypt

By Linda Tancs

Southern Illinois has long been referred to as “Little Egypt.” The origin of that moniker depends on whom you ask. One popular theory is that the region was so christened because its fertile bottomlands resemble its Middle Eastern sister. Whatever the reason, the regional designation resulted in place names like Cairo, Carmi, Karnak, Goshen, Thebes and Dongola. It’s a place rich in natural wonders, like the impressive rock formations at Ferne Clyffe State Park, a place named for its abundance of ferns when it was purchased by two brothers from Cairo in 1899. Autumn is a great time to watch summer’s tree foliage transform into a spectacular mix of reds, purples, golds and browns. If you hike the Round Bluff Nature Preserve, you’ll get the best of both worlds: stunning autumn color and sandstone cliffs.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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