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Contact Admin. Many visitors to Egypt explore the enchanting beaches of Sinai, the history of Luxor or the vastness of the Western Desert; however, the true magnificence of Egypt lies in the unknown treasures hidden in every single city—even such an average one as Al Minya. A three-hour drive south of Cairo, Al Minya is considered a city of the south by northerners, but if you talk to any authentic southerner, he will deny that Al Minya is part of their heritage.
Southern Egyptian cities tend to be much more conservative, with their own unique cultural heritage that northern urbanites tend to know little about—to us Cairians, we view the south as one lump of very stagnanttraditions. We tend to be unaware that the farther south one travels, the more traditions tend to tie with our pharaonic heritage. Each town intertwines its own conservative beliefs into what once was ancient. When my friends and I noticed an organized trip by Cairo Hiking, marketed toward local Egyptians, that promised to show us an in-depth view of Al Minya, we were quickly intrigued.
Our bus left Cairo at around 2: We ate our breakfast at a docked Nile cruise ship, but I recommend anyone else opt for a traditional plate of fool fava beans and falafel from any local restaurant. Our first stop was Beni Hassan, about 20 kilometres south of the city centre. While the name may sound modern to Arabic natives, the place is actually a Pharaonic burial site from the middle kingdom in the 21 st century B.
Most ancient tombs tended to be underground, yet as we explored the historic areas around Al Minya, we found many here carved into the mountains. It is believed that tombs on the upper ends of the cliff are of the Nobles, while the tombs of the lesser-ranked pharaohs were carved on a lower altitude.
As the four accessible tombs were for nobles, we could not really compare the difference between average tombs and those carved for the elite. As opposed to tombs in Luxor, Edfu or Suhaj, those in Beni Hassan appeared modest, mostly composed of one main room with a shaft leading to an underground smaller room where the mummy was stored. Nevertheless, the wall art and its messages were amazing, vividly explaining ancient disciplines such as wrestling, meditation and healing.