City of Akhmim
Akhmim is a small town 450 km from Cairo. It lies on the eastern bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt and boasts a rich cultural past that dates back 6,000 years. Although it was a significant town in the Greco-Roman period, today, Akhmim is much smaller and has yet to be affected by the intense modernization that has transformed many other small towns in Egypt.
It's also worth noting that Akhmim is only 10 km from Sohag, which connects to many major cities in Egypt and the wider region.
History of Akhmim
Almost every city in Egypt has been known by various names throughout its history, and the same is true for the city of Akhmim. The early Egyptians once called it Khent-Menu or Ipu, while the ancient Greeks called it Panopolis. Panopolis was after the main god of the city known as Min, whom the Greeks called Pan (god of fertility). The Coptics called the city Shmin or Khmin. It was a vital center in ancient Egypt and was also the capital of the 9th Upper Egyptian Nome. But in the Middle Ages, the nearby villagers used the materials to build their villages, so many monuments no longer remain.
Historical Importance of Akhmim
Besides the ruins, one of the other things of great interest unearthed in Akhmim was the Berlin codex, which (owing to the place where it was discovered) is also known as the Akhmim codex. It is a manuscript from the 5th century A.D. and was found at a Christian burial site. This papyrus-bound book was wrapped in feathers and was written in the Sahidic dialect (Coptic).
Another important fact about the city of Akhmim has been the basis of the modern word chemistry connected with its old name, Chemmis or Khemmis. Also, some of the oldest books on alchemy have been written by a famous alchemist, Zosimos of Panopolis (old Akhmim).
Today, Akhmim may not be one of the more known regions of Egypt, but the town was once a bustling regional and prosperous center centuries back. The Greek period saw the town become a center for alchemy and magic and also saw an amalgamation of ancient Egyptian traditions with Greek philosophy. Today, Akhmim may not be one of the more known regions of Egypt, but the town was once a bustling and prosperous center centuries back. The Greek period saw the town become a center for alchemy and magic and also saw an amalgamation of ancient Egyptian traditions with Greek philosophy, so it can be a unique place to learn about and visit.
What To See In Akhmim
Few tourists visit the city since there is little to do. Akhmim looks like a town still stuck in the past. The roads still have ruts from old journeys, and the locals still perform almost every form of the distinctly old forms of labor. The cotton factory produces some bright-colored textiles on machines that date back to Pharaonic times! Most of the city's buildings are the color of the earth, and the city roads have cars that date back to as old as 1940.
Main Attractions Of The Town of Akhmim
The main attraction in the city is a giant statue of Meryetamun, the daughter of Ramses II. The statue is quite giant at 11.5 meters tall and weighs 30 tons. The limestone statue is an example of Pharaonic art and is one of the most enormous statues of a queen in Egypt. A statue of Ramses II has also been unearthed and is now near the statue of his queen, Meryetamun.
The Necropolis of El-Hawawish is another place that is worth visiting. It was the burial place for the governors of this area from the 4th to 11th dynasties. Some tombs here are decorated with circular zodiacs.
El-Salamuni Promontory has rock-cut tombs from the Greco-Roman period. The rock chapel at El-Salamuni is dedicated to the local god Min and was constructed during the reign of Tuthmosis the Third. The Grotto of Pan is a temple dedicated to the local god Min and Amun-Re, built by Ay.
Around The Town of Akhmim
The church of Saint Mercurius is close to Akhmim and has an almost fortress-like appearance with richly decorated interiors in blues, gold, and burgundy. Its exciting painting of the birth of Jesus Christ is complemented by a tiny museum by the church. It has a double-sided image of Christ before the Resurrection on one side and after the Resurrection on the other.
Another exciting site near Akhmim is the Martyr's Monastery, which lies in the mid-desert. It is a place where religious Christian minorities were once persecuted. This monastery is the site of the barbaric act of beheading done to early Christians and has mummified heads of the dead. A room also has bodies of Coptic martyrs all robed in white with crowns adorning their heads to signify their martyrdom and salvation.