All Other Destinations and Attractions in Egypt
Girga (west bank), a district capital with attractive brick houses (many of them decorated with glazed tiles), mosques and a Coptic monastery on the outskirts of the town. 4mi/6km northwest is the village of El-Birba, perhaps occupying the site of ancient This, the place of origin of the First and Second Dynasties and capital of the Thinite nome. 4mi/6km west of Girga, at BeitKhallaf, is a large brick mastaba built in the reign of Djoser (Third Dynasty) which was frequently taken for the tomb of Djoser himself. Here and at the neighboring village of Mahasna are cemeteries of the Early Old Kingdom.
Opposite Girga on the east bank, at Nag el-Deir, are a number of cemeteries, some of them dating from prehistoric times. Near by is the old Coptic Monastery of Deir el-Malak, with a large cemetery in which the Christian inhabitants of Girga are still buried. Beyond the village the hills of the Eastern Desert approach close to the river. Among the many tombs in the hills are four Old Kingdom tombs, situated high up on the slopes of a hill, belonging to dignitaries of the city of This: only scanty remains of reliefs and inscriptions survive. 3mi/5km farther south, in the village of Mesheikh, which occupies the site of ancient Lepidoptonpolis, are the remains of a temple built by Ramesses II and rebuilt by Merneptah. Above the village are rock tombs, including one which belonged to a High Priest of This, Enhermose, in the reign of Merneptah (19th Dynasty).
El-Minsha (west bank of the Nile), a large village on the mound marking the site of Ptolemais Hermiou, a city founded by Ptolemy I which in the time of Strabo was the largest in the Thebaid and not inferior in size to Memphis, with a constitution on the Greek model. Its Coptic name was Psoi. Some 7.5mi/12km west, at the village of El-Kawamel, are large cemeteries of the earliest period.
Beyond El-Minsha the hills on the east bank of the Nile come close to the river in Gebel Tukh. Stone for the building of Ptolemais came from the large quarries (Greek, Latin and demotic inscriptions) in this area, particularly in the vicinity of Sheikh Musa.
On the east bank of the Nile is the village of El-Ahaiwa, with cemeteries of the earliest period and the New Kingdom. On the hill, near a sheikh's tomb, are the remains of an ancient Egyptian brick built fort.
Qus (east bank of the Nile), a busy district capital on the site of ancient Apollinopolis Parva, where the god Haroeris (one of the forms of Horus) was worshiped. In later times, according to the 14th C. traveler Abulfida, the town was second in size only to Fustat (Cairo) and was the chief center of the trade with Arabia. Nothing is now left of the ancient city but heaps of rubble and a few inscribed stones built into houses. The El-Amri Mosque, one of the few notable examples of Muslim architecture in Upper Egypt, has a fine pulpit of 1155 and a basin made from a single ancient stone bearing the name of Ptolemy II Philadelphus.
On the west bank, opposite Qus, is the village of Tukh, to the northwest of which, on the edge of the desert, are the remains of ancient Ombos, which was capital of Upper Egypt in very early times and had Seth as its protective deity. Near by are large prehistoric cemeteries. Farther south, also on the west bank and reached from Tukh, is Naqada, a Coptic village, to the north of which, on the fringes of the desert, is a badly ruined brick mastaba dating from the time of Menes, legendary founder of the Egyptian kingdom. Between Naqada and Qamula, along the edge of the desert, are several old Coptic monasteries which are said to date from the time of the Empress Helena. The largest of these, Deir el-Malak, stands in the Coptic cemetery of Naqada. Built of sun dried brick, it has four adjoining churches, the largest of which is dedicated to St Michael. The monastery, which has no fewer than 28 domes, is now unoccupied, being used only on certain feast days when priests come from Naqada. To the west are the ruins of the Monastery of St Samuet.
Beni Mazar (west bank of the Nile). 1.5mi/2.5km southwest is the village of El-Qeis, the ancient Egyptian Kais, whose local divinity was the dog headed Anubis. This was probably the site of the Greek Cynopolis, capital of the nome.
Some 9mi/15km west of Beni Mazar, on the Bahr Yusuf, is Bahnasa, with the mound of rubble which marks the site of ancient Oxyrhynchus (Egyptian Permedjed, Coptic Pemje), once capital of a nome, where the Oxyrhynchus fish (Arabic mizda) was worshiped. Plutarch tells us that there was a war between Cynopolis and Oxyrhynchus, settled only after Roman intervention, because the people of each town had eaten the sacred animal of the other. After the introduction of Christianity Oxyrhynchus became a great monastic center, with 12 churches within the town and many monasteries and nunneries round it. In the fifth C. the diocese of Oxyrhynchus is said to have contained 10,000 monks and 12,000 nuns. In the Mameluke period the town was still a place of some consequence, but thereafter it declined. Excavations by Grenfell and Hunt from 1897 onwards yielded large quantities of Greek, Coptic and Arabic papyri. Remains of colonnades and a large theater of the Roman period were also brought to light. From Bahnasa there is a desert track to the Bahriya Oasis.
The New Valley Frontier District occupies an area of some 145,000 sq. mi/376,000 sq. km in the southwest of Egypt. It consists predominantly of desert; the population is concentrated in the oases of Bahriya, Dakhla, Farafra and Kharga.Since the late 1950s, under the New Valley development project, considerable effort has been devoted to winning new land for cultivation. Artesian wells have been sunk in the oasis depressions to tap underground water supplies and thus make possible the cultivation of fodder plants, grain and date palms. Problems have, however, been caused by the increasing salt content of the soil.
Manfalut (west bank of the Nile), a district capital situated between the Nile and the lbrahimiya Canal, the market town for the surrounding area and the seat of a Coptic Bishop. 4.5mi/7km southwest, on the edge of the Western Desert, is the Kom Lara, with traces of prehistoric settlement, a necropolis of the Early Historical period and a Coptic cemetery.
Opposite Manfalut on the east bank of the Nile lies the village of El-Maabda, northeast of which, in the hills, are Old Kingdom tombs. 4mi/6km northeast, on the plateau of the Arabian Desert, is the Crocodile Cave, with scanty remains of crocodile mummies. South of El-Maabda is Gebel-Ourna, with a quarry which was worked in the reign of Sethos II (inscription). 3mi/5km east, at Arab el-Atiyat, are ancient tombs and quarries. 2mi/3km east of this in the Coptic Monastery of Deir el-Gabrawi a Greek dedication by the Lusitanian Cohort to Zeus, Heracies and Nike dating from the reign of Diocletian, was discovered. Some distance farther away is Gebel-Marag, with many rock tombs of the Late Old Kingdom belonging to princes and dignitaries of the Snake Mountain nome. The tombs are divided into a northern and an older southern group; the most interesting tombs are those of Djaw and Ebe, Princes of the Snake Mountain and Abydos nomes, which contain reliefs of various craftsmen, harvest scenes, fishing and hunting, etc.
Nazali Ganub (west bank of the Nile). Beyond the railroad and the lbrahimiya Canal is the town of El-Qusiya, the ancient Cussae, in which, according to Aelian, Aphrodite Urania (i.e. Hathor), mistress of the heavens, and a cow were worshiped. The ancient Egyptian name of the town was Kis. It was the capital of the Lower Sycamore nome of Upper Egypt. 3mi/5km west of Nazali Ganub is Meir, and some 4.5mi/7km beyond this is the necropolis of Kis, with rock tombs belonging to dignitaries of the sixth and 12th Dynasties and their relatives. Of particular interest are the tombs of Senbi, son of Ukhhotep (reign of Amenemhet I) and his son Ukh-hotep (reign of Sesostris I), with reliefs (some of them in naturalistic style) which are among the best of their kind in the Middle Kingdom. Southwest of Nazali Ganub, on the fringes of the desert, is the large Coptic Monastery of Deir el-Maharraq, traditionally the most southerly point at which the Holy Family rested on their flight into Egypt.
Opposite Nazali Ganub on the east bank of the Nile, surrounded by beautiful palm groves, is the village of Quseir el-Amama, near which are rock tombs of the Sixth Dynasty. The tomb of Khunukh has some scanty painted decoration; the larger tomb of Pepionkh is unfinished.