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Al Minya Travel Guide

Monuments And Ancient Sites In Al Minya


Al Minya is 246 km away from Cairo and is one of the most important governorates of Upper Egypt because of its unique location midway between northern and southern Egypt. In addition Al Minya has many historical sites and monuments that go back to different eras from the Pharaonic era to modern times.

 

Al Minya stretches for around 135 kilometers on both banks of the Nile at 18 kilometers wide from the east to the west. The size of the city is approximately 32,000km and its population is around 4 million.


Al Minya was the capital of Egypt in (1373 – 1390) BC when Ikhnaton and his beautiful queen, Nefertiti, lived there in the small village of Tel El Amarna in the Markez of Malawi, which was the center of the worship of the God Aten. This was the first time in Egyptian history when the Egyptians worshiped one god, changing the religion that encouraged worshiping many gods especially the famous god Amun. 


The bridge of Upper Egypt had an important role in other stages of the Egyptian history. During the Roman era, it was the center of the worship of the god Thut, the god of wisdom and knowledge, while in the Copts era the church of the Virgin Mary was built in Al Minya in the same time the Church of The Resurrection was built in Jerusalem. The Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus (may God be pleased with them) also stayed in Al Minya for a while as well during their holy journey.

 

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In the Islamic period, Al Minya is proud to have been visited by a number of the Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) companions, and the town of Al el Beit is where the two most famous Muslim army leaders, Khaled Ibn El Walid and Amr Ibn Al Aas also came and built the historical mosque of Al Hassan. The governorate is even more proud of the fact that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), married a lady from Al Minya, Marya the Copt. 


The name of the governorate, Al Minya, went through many evolutions to reach its modern name. It was called Men'at Khufu, or the town of the breastfeeder of Khufu, as it is shown in the inscriptions in the tombs of Beni Hassan. Afterward, it was called "Mony" in the ancient Coptic language which means the house or the store. The third name of governorate was Menya Ibn Khaseeb when the army leader Ibn Khaseeb wished to be its governor. Eventually, the Caliph of the Abbasids at the time, Harun El Rashid, granted him the governorate and assigned him as its ruler. Then, it was called Menya el Fooly referring to the famous Muslim religious scholar, Ahmed Al Fooly. 

 

Economy of Al Minya


Agriculture plays a major role in the lives of the residents of Al Minya as there are 550,000 acres of cultivated land with yams, onions, sugar cane. The agricultural land in this region makes up around 6% of all the cultivated land of Egypt. Ma7asee; --0 Al Menya is also famous for producing raw materials for glass and ceramic production. Al Menya is famous for the production of different kinds of Egyptian cheese as well. 


The monuments and ancient sites in Al Menya 


Tel Al Amarna is the capital of the kingdom that Akhenaton established. It is located 45 kilometers away from another ancient site which is the tombs of Beni Hassan so it is always a good idea to visit both sites on the same trip. Tel Al Amarana was called "Okht Aten". The ruins of the ancient capital are still there in the isolated valley in the eastern bank of the Nile 


Tel Al Amarna hosts two groups of tombs: The first is located to the north of the town and the other is located to the south of the city. These tombs are famous for their wall drawings and inscriptions that represented the life at the time of Ikhnaton and the religious revolution he led. 


The royal tomb of Akhenaton is located in a small narrow valley six kilometers away from the wide valley that separates the northern and southern parts of the city. 


Most of the tombs of Tel Al Amarna were never completed and a very small number of tombs were actually used as a burial place for the bodies of the royal family and their acquaintances. There are 25 tombs that are numbered 1 to 6 in the north and 6 to 25 in the south. 


The tombs that are worth visiting are:


The tomb of "Hoya" he was the watcher of the harem, or ladies section in for king Akhenaton. There is an attractive portrait of the king and his family to the right side in the entrance of the tomb. 


The tomb of Ahmos

Ahmos was one of the servants who held the fans  for the king and there is a statue representing him in his tomb.


The tomb of Meriri

Meriri was the grand priest of the worship of Aten and drawings of the Pharoah Akhenaton visiting the city and the temple of the city are present in vibrant detail all over the tomb. 


The Tomb of Maho

This tomb is among the best-preserved tombs in Tel Al Amarna and Maho was the leader of the police in the period of Akhenaton. 

The Tomb of Ay 
This is the best and most beautiful tomb in Tel Al Amarna and it includes drawings of the royal life and the common street life of the city as well. There is also a remarkable drawing of King Akhenaton and his wife Nefertiti presenting gold bracelets to Ay and his wife. 



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The tombs of Beni Hassan

These set of tombs is located 20 kilometers to the south of the city of Al Minya and it contains around 300 tombs that belong to the middle Pharaonic era. These tombs were made out of limestone and some are open for visitors. 


The tomb of Kheity 

Kheity was the ruler of the town of Orikes in the era of the 11th dynasty around 2000 B.C. The drawings on the walls of the tomb demonstrate typical daily life during the middle kingdom. 


The Tomb of Baqete
Baqete was the father of Kheity and his tomb's walls are decorated with strange drawings of wrestlers and deers. There are also drawings of men hunting wild animals.


Tomb of Khenomoheteb

It’s a fine-looking tomb and Khenomoheteb served as a ruler in the period of Amenmehat in 1820 B.C. Colored paintings that represent the life of Khenomoheteb decorate the tomb.


The museum of Malawi

The Malawi of Malawi is located near the Cairo Aswan highway. It was opened in the year 1963 and it contains the items which were found in the area of Tuna El Jebel and they go back to the Greek and Roman era. The museum hosts a variety of mummies, Pharaonic coffins, Pharaonic statues, and a lot of items that the Egyptians used in their daily lives. 


Tuna Al Jebel


This area is located to the west of the ancient town of Ashmonin and it was a very important section in the Roman period where it served as a burial site for the town. Tuna Al Jebel contains burial homes with wall paintings that are very unique because it was created with a mixture of Roman and ancient Egyptian art. Excavation work is still going on in this area and archaeologists are still making new discoveries. The area has many tombs worth visiting like the tomb of Petozeris, the tomb of Asadora, and the tomb of the god Tehot.

 

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The Roman water wheel


It goes back to the Roman period, was built out of red rocks and it is 200 feet deep. 


Monuments of Ashmoneen


These are located eight kilometers to the west of the town of Malawi and were the center of the worship of the god Tehoot or the monkey god. The important monuments of this area contain the ruins of a basilica church with its granite columns, the temple of Philip Arhides, a statue of the Tehoot god as a baboon monkey, and the ruins of the temple of the god Tehoot which was built by Ramses ll in the modern era. 


The Monastery of Abu Al Barsha


Located on the east bank of the Nile opposite of the town of Malawi. It can be reached by car. The monastery contains a number of drawings and portraits of early  Christian life. 


The Monastery of Abu Hamas


This monastery is located one and a half kilometers to the north of the Abu Al Barsha Monastery. It contains a remarkable church that includes a mixture of the Byzantine and basilica art. The church was built in the fifth century AD. It also contains a church which was curved in the mountain for the saint Yohanas and it has many portraits and icons of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. 


The Monuments of Sheikh Abada

 
In the year 130 B.C. the Roman Emperor Hadrian built this city which was also an important city in the Pharaonic era. The ruins of a huge temple of Ramses ll were discovered and are very interesting to see. In the Islamic era, Sheikh Abada Ibn Al Samet chose this area to build the mosque that was named after him. Maria, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also used to live in this area for a time.

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