About El Minya
Many of the tourists who visit Egypt usually go to cities like Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada. However, these tourists spending their vacations in Egypt do not know they are missing a lot by not exploring other destinations in the land of the Nile like El Minya for example that it is rich in its various monuments and magnificent views of the River Nile
Nicknamed as the jewel of Upper Egypt, the governorate of El Minya is one the industrial cities in Egypt as it was famous for its cotton industry during the 20th century.
Geographical Location of El Minya
The Government of El Minya is the northernmost region in Upper Egypt and the capital of the government is a large city that holds the same name, El Minya. El Minya is actually situated on the West Bank of the River Nile.
The governorate stretches from North to South for more than 135 kilometers with a width of around 18 kilometers. This makes the surface area of the governorate around 33000 square kilometers. The Governorate of El Minya has a population of more than four million inhabitants.
The city of El Minya is located 245 kilometers to the South of Cairo, the Egyptian capital, 640 Kilometers to North of Aswan, around 420 kilometers to the North of Luxor, and about 500 kilometers to the South East of the city of Alexandria.
The Name El Minya
Since the governorate of El Minya has been inhabited since ancient times, the name El Minya is factually derived from Hieroglyphic ancient Egyptian language and it was called Men’uo. This word is the abbreviation of the word Men’uo Khufu that is the name of the breast feederor King Khufu or Cheops as he is called in English.
The word evolved afterwards during the Coptic period to become Mennah or the house in the Coptic Language and then to El Minya in the Islamic period.
TheHistory and establishment of ElMinya
The region where the governorate of El Minya is situated today was inhabited as early as the 31 century BC in the pry dynastic period of ancient Egypt. With the unification of Egypt by King Menes afterwards, El Minya became the province number 16.
El Minya later non-became an important transit point of the commercial caravans coming from the Red Sea to the East and it was situated in the West Bank of the River Nile, the same location the governorate occupies today.
During the first intermediate period of ancient Egypt, the city of El Minya became a strong province and richness due to its location in the middle between Upper and Lower Egypt. However, the most flourishing period of El Minya was during the reign of the 11th dynasty that ruled Egypt from 1991 till 2134 BC.
The local rulers of El Minya, the same as all the other Pharaohs of ancient Egypt they built themselves tombs near the city of the living at the time. The only example that survived of these tombs until today is those located at the village of Beni Hassan.
The same as many regions in lower and middle Egypt, the Hyksos took control of El Minya during the second intermediate period. El Minya has a played a major role in the battles that the ancient Egyptians went through to regain control of their homeland. The first battle between the Pharaohs and the Hyksos was in the middle of the 16th century BC and it took place in El Minya where the Egyptians had their first victory over their enemies.
When Arabs took control of Egypt in the 7th century El Minya retained its importance that even increased in the period of the Abbasids when Ibn Kasib, the appointed ruler of Egypt by the Abbasids fell in love with the city. He was the one who really enlarged the city and developed it.
This development went on during the reign of the Fatimids with the constructions of many mosques and Islamic teaching schools and continued to grow ever afterwards.
About El Minya Today
El Minya today is a large center with more than 4.5 million people living in the different sections of the governorate. Moreover, a number of tourists spending their holidays in Egypt would sometimes pay a visit to El Minya for its many interesting historical sites.
Among the most important historical sites of El Minya is that of Tell El Amarna that was once the great charming city of Akhenaten that was founded by King Akhenaton in the 14th century BC to be his new capital and the center of the worship of the god, Aten, the sun god.
However, the only remaining items of this great city today are some tombs and the remains of an ancient temple. The most notable parts of Tell El Amarna are the two cliff tombs.
The first groups of tombs are called the Northern tombs. The most remarkable among them is the tomb of Huya, the steward of the Queen Tiya, the mother of the king Akhenaton.
Among the most excellent examples of the ruins of Tell El Amarna that survived until today is the Temple of Queen Nefertiti as some sections of the temple are well preserved including the magnificent original mosaic floors.
Another important monument in El Minya is the necropolis of Beni Hassan. Most of the tombs in this burial site date back to the Middle Kingdom and they are considered some of the rare examples of the mortuary art of this period. These tombs date back as early as the 10th century BC. This necropolis, consisting of 39 tombs, has some remarkable tombs that are worth visiting.
There is also the area that is now called El Ashmonien that was once an ancient city constructed in the reign of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt as the center of the cult of Thoth, the god of wisdom in ancient Egypt.
The most remarkable remaining sections of El Ashmonien today are the Tomb of the god Thoth with some columns and remarkable statues, the Roman Basilica that was constructed in the 3rd or 4th centuries BC, and there is also the Open-air museum that hosts many of the findings at the area.
Moreover, El Minya hosts a number of historical monuments as well like El Masry Mosque, Istable Antar, El Fouly Mosque, and El Amrawy Mosque.