City of El-Matareya, Egypt
El Matareya or Al-Matariyya also known as Mataria or Matariyyah is a region located in the Dakahila Governorate of Egypt. The district lies in the northern part of Greater Cairo to the east of the river Nile and just adjacent to the Lake Manzala in the northeastern part of Egypt. Mataria in Cairo is an altogether different region and El Matariya has a small population of just 300,000 inhabitants and is made up of two major districts, which are El-Obeyeen and Al-Ghasna. In 1930s the district was named as a distinct city having a number of villages in it. It’s believed that Al-Matariyya was once a part of Heliopolis which is among the oldest known cities that existed in ancient Egypt. Other districts that were a part of Hetropolis in addition to this were Tell el-Hisn, Kafr el-Gamus, Qurn Kafr el-Marg, Ezbet Arab el-Tawil and El-Khusus.
History associated with El-Matareya
The name of El-Matareya is believed to have come from the Latin word ‘mater’ which means ‘mother’ and is so named because of the existence of the tree of Virgin Mary in this region. Al Matariyya with Ayn Shams, the neighboring district, is known to play an important part in history during the Pharonic period of Egypt, which were a part of ancient Heliopolis. El-Matareya still has many archeological sites dating back to that era, some of which have only been discovered recently and categorize among the modern monuments. Heliopolis in the roman times belonged to Augustamnica province and as per a Christian legend the Holy Family too k refuge under a tree in Heliopolis which is now known by the name of the tree of the Virgin Mary and still stands at the chapel in El-Matareya.
Another is the stay of Pierre Belon du Mans, the French Naturalist’s stay at El-Matareya when he was visiting Egypt in 1547. The district once was a home to many exquisite and wealthy villas. Ahmed Shaqwi, the Egyptian poet lives at a villa named Karmet Ibn Hani, till he was exiled from the country during the First World War.
Historical monuments at El-Matareya
The ancient Obelisk is situated here, one of which dates back to the Pharaonic era and still stands at its original position. This obelisk is the only one remaining from Heliopolis and was once a part of the great temple of Ra-atum which was made by Pharaoh Sesostis in the 12th dynasty. The obelisk is made from red granite and weighs 120 ton and is 22 meters high.
Another example is the colossal statue made from pink granite which appears like those from the Pharaoh Ramses II, weighing 5 tons and was found in El-Matareya in 2006. The statue was placed at the ruins of a temple which existed during the right of the sun Ramses II.
Another historical structure found were the underground tombs from 6th dynasty which are of the High Priests of Ra and were found in the Temple of Ra Atum at the southeastern corner.
Necropolis of Heliopolis about 5 km from El-Matareya belongs to the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom. In 2004, a tomb was found with a dome which was made by a Priest of 26th Dynasty. Inside which were many funerary statuettes named as hieroglyphs and Ushabti from the 7th century BC.
Industries in El-Matareya
In the western part of El-Matareya lies the industrial region along the canal Musturud Ismā'īliyya, here exist many oil companies like Misr Petrol, Shell and General Association of Oil. Also there are various food industries which are popular in Egypt.
Popular places near El-Matareya
El A'safra, Al Dheheir and Awlad Sobour, other places include Al Matariyah, Mataria, Kafr Farouqi and `Arab Abu Tawila. The major cities close to this district are Cairo, Gizeh, Tanta and El Mahalla el Kubra.
Some famous mosques near El-Matareya
Some popular mosques that are located at El-Matareya are Great Mosque of Azzam, El Fath Mosque and The Mosque of the graveyard.
Some famous families from El-Matareya
Some famous families of Egypt which share a history with the town of El Matareya include El Rayes, Azzam, El Shennawy, Al Nagdy, Farrag, El Gendy Dorra and many others.
A final word
El-Matareya is famous as a place of pilgrimage in Egypt from the Middle Ages. The district is now being visited by a large number of tourists coming to Egypt. There are many popular hotels located in the place to help tourists find that ideal accommodation easily which can help them enjoy the trip thoroughly.