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Beni Mazar Travel Guide

Beni Mazar is located in the Minya governorate and is adjacent to the cities of Mattay and Maghagha along the Nile River. The town is famous for having many remarkable Coptic and Islamic monuments. The Virgin Mary tree, El Sabaa, Sidi Gafaar's tomb, and the Banaat tombs are prominent among the monuments. Beni Mazar also has many agricultural lands and produces many vegetables and fruits. It's also an area that grows many traditional crops, such as corn, cotton, and wheat. In addition to being called Beni Mazar, the city is known by the names Beni-Hassan and Bani Hassan in some areas. Historically, it was primarily an ancient cemetery site.
The village of El-Qeis, known as Kais in ancient Egypt, is 2.5 km from Beni Mazar. It was a center of worship of the local dog-headed god Anubis. Experts believe that  El-Qeis was also probably the location of the ancient Greek Cynopolis.

Getting To Beni Mazar

Beni Mazar is 20 km from the modern-day Minya, between Memphis and Asyut. The nearest airports are Asyut International Airport and Cairo International Airport, which are 203 and 212 km away from Beni Mazar. Depending on your travel plans, you can also choose any of the other international airports. A cab can be taken to visit Beni Mazar from these airports, or a detailed travel plan can be booked through a travel agent.

History Of The City

Beni Mazar is an Egyptian cemetery with burial sites dating back to the Middle Bronze Age and the 21st to 17th century BC (Middle Kingdom). There are some burials from the Old Kingdom as well. A temple constructed by Thutmose the Third and Hatshepsut and dedicated to the goddess Pakhet lies south of the cemetery. The people know this temple as the Cave of Artemis as the ancient Greeks identified the goddess Pakhet with Artemis. The temple here is subterranean, so exploring it involves a trek underground.
The tombs date back to the eleventh and twelfth dynasties, though some belong to the fourth dynasty. In Beni Mazar, the rock-cut tombs are carved into the rising limestone cliffs. A steep flight of stone stairs leads to the tombs, and the fantastic view of the river valley from the top is magnificent. A blend of history and the beauty of nature captures the imagination and makes for a memorable visit.

Around Beni Mazar

Many ancient sites are near Beni Mazar, and one can easily spend much time exploring the tombs and ancient ruins.

Tal el Amarna

The ancient site of Amarna lies 58 km south of Al Minya city. The site has many modern villages, including El-Hagg Qandil in the south and El Till in the north. This area has remains of the city built by Pharaoh Akhenaten in 1353 BC (late 18th dynasty). The city's ancient name was Akhetaten, which translates to Horizon of the Aten.
The Tel el Amarna area has more than 25 tombs, of which six are located in Darb El Mailk in the north, and the remaining 19 are on the south side. The tombs were built in a complicated manner to protect them from thieves, and each has an open court that leads back to three additional chambers. Each tomb has been adorned with "Hymn to The Sun" lyrics, which had been composed by Akhenaten. Some tombs have also used a statue of the deceased and papyrus columns. Most people visiting the site are suggested to take a local guide along as one can get lost owing to the intricate construction of the tombs.

Tunah el-Gebel

To the north of El Minya is the little-visited site of Tunah el-Gebel. In Greco-Roman, the period site was called Akoris. The Fraser tombs are the best-known features of the site, which are rock-cut tombs dating to the Old Kingdom. A gebel (hill) along the desert hosts the tombs from the old kingdom. These tombs are 2km to the east side of the town. There is also a tomb of a priest of Hathor, who was known as Nikaankh. In Pharaonic times, Tunah-El-Gebel was known as Dehenet and had a temple of Hathor. Another interesting temple is one built by Merenptah and Rameses the Second. This temple has four rock-cut chambers and is another excellent place to explore.

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