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 a large number of remarkable Coptic and Islamic monuments. Prominent among the monuments are the Virgin Mary tree, El Sabaa, Sidi Gafaar's tomb, and the Banaat tombs. The city of Beni Mazar also has many agricultural lands and is a producer of many types of vegetables and fruits. It's also an area that grows a lot of traditional crops such as corn, cotton, and wheat. In addition to being called Beni Mazar, the city is also 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 which was 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 located 20 km from the modern-day Minya, which lies 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, respectively. Depending on your travel plans, you can choose any of the other international airports as well. 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 to the south of the cemetery. This temple is known by the people as Cave of Artemis as the ancient Greeks identified the goddess Pakhet with Artemis and also the temple here is subterranean so exploring it involves a trek underground.
The tombs date back to primarily the eleventh and twelfth dynasties, though some of the tombs also belong to the fourth dynasty. Here in Beni Mazar, one can see the rock-cut tombs which have been carved into the rising limestone cliffs. A steep flight of stone stairs leads to the tombs and the wonderful view of the river valley from the top is just magnificent. A blend of history and the beauty of nature captures the imagination and makes for a memorable visit.
Around Beni Mazar
There are many ancient sites near the town of Beni Mazar and one can easily spend lots of time exploring the tombs and ancient ruins.
Tal el Amarna
The ancient site of Amarna lies 58 km to the south of Al Minya city. This 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 name of the city in ancient times was Akhetaten which translates to Horizon of the Aten.
The Tel el Amarna area has more than 25 tombs out 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 which leads back to three additional chambers. Each tomb has been adorned with “Hymn to The Sun” lyrics which had been composed by Akhenaten. A statue of the deceased and papyrus columns have also been used in some tombs. Most of the 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.
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 the town of Tunah-El-Gebel was known as Dehenet and also 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.