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Destination Details

El-minya, Egypt

 

Early Beginnings During Predynastic Period
During the Predynastic Period (before 3100 BC), the area encompassing modern day Minya and its surrounding lands formed the 16th nome (district). It remained an autonomous city-state until the rulerMenes unified Egypt around 3,200 BC. At the time of its unification, Egypt was divided into 42 nomes. The 16th nome was also called the Oryx nome, probably due to the prevalence of the Oryx, one of theantelope species that inhibited the area. Minya During The Old Kingdom After the unification of Egypt, the provincial capital of the 16th nome emerged as an important center of trade. It was opposite a trade route to the Red Sea along which the Levantine traders carrying their goods from Sinai Sans MS"; mso-themecolor: text2; mso-themeshade: 191;"> and Canaan travelled. During later times of the Old Kingdom, the name of the city was changed to Men'at Khufu , linking it to the Pharoah Khufu or Cheops (reigning around 2550 BC) founder of the Great Pyramid at Giza as it was believed that he was born there. The city of Men'at Khufu has not been located but it is thought to be located on the west bank of the Nile in the vicinity of the modern day Minya. 
 
Minya During The Middle Kingdom
[caption id="attachment_328" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Twenty two Nomes of Upper Egypt"][/caption] Following the collapse of the Old Kingdom, and during the First Intermediate Period, rulers of Men'at Khufu became wealthy and powerful and enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy in relation to the central power of Pharoahs. Their power reached its height during the 11th Dynasty.
Like Pharoahs, rulers of the Oryx nome were deeply concerned with their lives after death. Because the pyramid building age was over or maybe because they could not afford to construct their own pyramids, the rulers of Mena’at Khufu chose the limestone cliffs of the eastern desert overlooking a gentle curve in the Nile as an ideal spot on which to carve their tombs. These chapel-tombs at Beni Hasan are the only remnant of the era when Minya rulers wielded power and wealth. Today these thirty nine rock-cut tombs can be visited in the limestone cliffs above the modern day village of Beni Hasan. Though not as great and magnificent as other monuments of ancient Egypt, the Beni Hasan tombs are rather extremely important as their walls reveal more information about life in Egypt 4,000 years ago more than any other monument in Egypt. In fact these tombs provide more insight about daily life in Egypt than about the rulers who constructed them.   With the rise of the 12th Dynasty, the powers of Minya rulers were forcibly reduced by the PharaohAmenemhat II (1929–1895 BC). By the end of the 12th dynasty, the role and the power of the rulers of Minya were functionally eliminated. As for the Beni Hasan tombs, most of them were later ravaged. Some were defaced by rulers that followed. Mutilation of the tomb chamber was the fate of many monuments during the centuries following the demise of Pharaonic Egypt. Tombs were converted into dwellings, quarried as a ready source of stone, or deliberately damaged by early Christians and Muslims. 

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