City of Girga, Egypt
Girga, a city in the country famous for its desert, is located in the Sohag Governorate of Upper Egypt. The city shares its boundaries with the west bank of River Nile. Till 1960, the town was the capital of the governorate after which it was shifted to Sohag and hence the governorate’s name. The estimated population of Girga is about 71,564. The town is renowned for its sugar refining industry, pottery and is a home to many other industries as well. Some believe that the town is where the ancient city of Thinis was once flourishing, but there is no confirmed evidence for the same. Also, some believe it was where the village of Birba was situated which was Egypt’s capital during the rules of the 1st and the 2nd dynasties. Girga due to its hot weather is classified as a hot desert with extreme summer temperature.
The history about city of Girga
Girga is said to have derived its name from the old monastery named Mar Girgis Coptic Monastery, which was constructed in dedication to St. George. The town is the seat to the Coptic Bishop. Another notable site present here is the el-Sini which is touted to be the oldest Roman Catholic Monastery ever known in Egypt. More sites for which Girga enjoys ample fame are the Beautiful paved Suq and the Porcelain Mosque the el-Sini, which are believed to be the oldest catholic monasteries of the country and which were almost swept away by the River Nile at one time. Another site is Beit Khallaf, which is an ancient site and a necropolis where visitors can still see tombs made from mudbrick said to have been constructed during the 3rd Dynasty. In 14th century, the city became a center of the Hawwarah, which is an Arabized Amazigh tribe, which in 1576 were conquered by Egypt’s Ottoman governor who transformed this into the seat of the governor of Upper Egypt.
Girga was renowned as a significant area for producing grain, a part of which was sent to Cairo and to Mecca and Medina via the Red sea acting as the basic diet of these holy cities. During Muhammad Ali’s reign in 1859, the city was absorbed into another territorial unit after which the capital of the province was shifted to Sohag.
Tourist information about Girga
Tourists visiting Egypt must visit Girga which is among a major tourist destination of this country. The beauty of the surrounding landscape is simply spell bounding. The city has many fine mosques and is popular for the pottery which is of very high quality. Other famous industries include sugar-refinery, cotton-weaving and dairying industries. The sugar refinery here was expanded in 1980s to increase its production to 75,000 tons per year. The city largely produces cereals, cotton, dates and sugarcane. Outside the town there is a popular catholic monastery and towards the south 10 miles away are the remains of ancient city Abydos. The tombs of the noble on the east bank lies the limestone cliff face.
Some famous tourist places at Girga include
- Porcelain Mosque or the El-Sini Mosque
- Ancient sites in Girga
- Site at Beit Qallaf
- Tombs made from mudbrick
- Tombs made from mudbrick in Girga
Beit Khallaf, a small town, which is located at a distance of 10 km from Girga towards the west in the Sohag Governorate in Upper Egypt. During excavations surrounding the village many human bones and offering vessels were found. Beit Khallaf Mastabas are huge structures made from mud brick belonging to the early dynastic era. The same were investigated by John Garstang in the early 20th century. There were five monumental mastabas made from mud brick discovered in a low desert behind this village. The K1 and K2 mastabas lie about 10 km west of Girga on a low desert plateau. The site also has remains from the kings Djoser and Sanakht respectively.
The bottom line
Often referred as the village of the mud or clay, Girga is believed to be the headquarters for the First Pharaoh who ruled in Egypt who was named as Mina Narmer in history and he tried to unify Egypt while transferring his capital to Memphis. The city thus has a rich historical past associated with its existence, which can only be explored after visiting this place in person.