Beni Hassan

First written by allamahmed and 1 others, on Wed, 2009/11/11 - 3:24am, and has been viewed by 6139 unique users

This article covers all the south-eastern area of Minia. 

Beni Hassan (Arabic: بنى حسن) - Istable Antar (Arabic: اسطبل عنتر) - Zawyet el Soltan (Arabic: زاوية السلطان)- El Sheikh Ebada (Arabic: الشيخ عبادة). Almost 25 kms south east of minia so u have to cross the big bridge to the east bank and then go south


Opposite the town, on the eastern bank of the Nile, about 10 km south of Minia, lies Zawiet El-Mayiteen "Zawiet Sultan". It is one of the largest cemeteries in Egypt. It is the modern cemetery of Minia with many small domed tombs. Near the southern end of that cemetery is the ruined third-Dynasty
pyramid, on the fore side of which are the rock tombs of the princes and
dignitaries of the ancient city of Hebanu, end of the Old Kingdom. Scenes of
theses tombs are not very well preserved, and some of them have been
wantonly destroyed, probably during the social revolution, whish took place at
the end of the Sixth Dynasty. The most important tomb located in the area is
that of Khunes, Overseer of commissions, and Ruler of the residence. There is
also one tomb which dates back to the New Kingdom that is the Tomb of
Nefer-Sekheru, Royal Scribe, overseer of the granaries of Upper and Lower
Egypt, and great Steward of the lord of the two lands .



It is the rock-cut temple of the cat-headed goddess Pakhet located 2km
south of Beni-Hassan necropolis. The temple was constructed during the joint
reign of Queen Hatshepsut and King Tuthmosis III (18th dynasty), known to
the Greeks as the Speos Artemidos "Cave of Artemis", and to the Arabs as
Istable Antar ( Antar's Stable ) , after an ancient hero. The names and
representations of Hatshepsut were erased by Tuthmosis, and Sethos I (19th
Dynasty) later replaces them by his own. The temple consists of avestibule and an inner chamber connected with it by a short corridor.Above the entrance is a long inscription glorifying the reign ofHatshepsut and inveighing against the misdeeds of the Hyksos.
The vestibule originally had eight pillars, of which three remain, bearing on
their sides the names of Tuthmosis III and Sethos I.
On the rear wall, to the left of the door, is Sethos I between Amun-Ra
(enthroned) and the cat-headed Pakhet, with Thoth addressing the nine great
gods of Karnak and the gods of Upper and Lower Egypt. To the right of the
door are three reliefs. Sethos sacrificing to Pakhet, Sethos receiving from
Pakhet the hieroglyphs for (life) hanging from two scepters, and Sethos is
being blessed by Thoth.
In the corridor, on the left, there is a long inscription in the name of
Sethos I and a representation of the King offering wine to Pakhet. On the right
the King is presenting a baboon to Pakhet. In the rear wall of the inner
chamber is a niche for the goddess' statue.
To the west of Speos Artemidos is another temple, the outside of
which has the names of Alexander II, son of Alexander the great and Roxana.
Below, there are six small scenes depicting the King in the presence of various




El-Sheikh Abada, located on the eastern bank of the Nile about 30 km.
south of Minia, contains monuments dating from the reign of Ramses II. Here
also are the remains of the roman town of Antinoupolis (or Antinous), built in
the year 130 A.D. by the Roman emperor Hadrian in memory of his favorite
cupbearer Antinous. An oracle had predicated that the Emperor would suffer
a heavy loss, and to prevent a more serious disaster from overtaking his
beloved master and devoted boy, Antinous, threw himself into the Nile at his
place, so as to fulfill the predication of the oracle.Although Hadrianmay have enlarged or embellished this city , he certainly did not foundit , as the remains of a temple , and a chapel built by Ramses II ,with stones taken from a building of Akhenaton , were found here,proving that the city existed , at least as early as the NineteenthDynasty.
It is noteworthy that Mariya El-Qibtiah, one of prophet Mohamed's
wives was born in this region. 





Access: This area can be reached by boat from Minia or by car to Abu
Qurqas, then by boat to the eastern bank of the Nile, or by car through the
eastern road. The rock tombs of Beni-Hassan lie on the eastern edge of the desert, on
the eastern bank of the Nile, about 23km.south of Minia and 35 km, north of
Tell-El-Amarna. The site takes its name from an Arab tribe which formerly
lived in a number of neighboring settlements now ruined and abandoned, and
it now occupies the village of Beni-Hassan El-Shuruq. The tombs were
constructed during the Middle Kingdom (11th and early 12th Dynasties) for
princes and dignitaries of the Oryx or Antelope Nome, the 16th Nome ofUpper Egypt. The architectural features of the tombs and the important
inscriptions and representations of scenes from everyday life which they
contain make this the most important necropolis between Memphis and Asyut.
The quality of the later tombs is distinctly inferior to that of the earlier ones,
reflecting a gradual decline in the cultural standards during a period when
there was no falling off in material prosperity. The mural decorationsof the tombs were painted on stucco in brightcolors, but many of thescenes are damaged or, particularly in the later tombs, so faded thatthey can barley be distinguished. The tombs, 39 in all, extend in a rowalong the rock face commanding a magnificent view of the cultivated
land, the Nile, and the distant western mountains. Visitors whose aim is
limited should confine themselves to the four most important tombs (Nos. 2, 3,
15, 17), the others, less well preserved, are of interest only to specialists.


The tomb of Amenemhat

No.2 is the tomb of Amenemhat or Ameni, Nomarch of the Antelope
Nome in the reign of Sesostris. In the vestibule are two octagonal columns
supporting the flat-vaulted roof. On the uprights and lintel of the entrance door
are prayers for the dead and the titles of the dead man. On the other side of the
doorway is a long inscription of the 15th day of the second month of the
inundation in the 43rd year of Sesostris, s reign glorifying Amenemhat's
exploits in several military campaigns, and the benefits he conferred on his
Nome. The roof of the three-aisled main chamber is supported by 16-sided,
delicately fluted columns. The wall paintings are very similar to those in the
tomb of Khnem-Hotep. On the left-hand north entrance wall are variouscraftsmen including shoemakers, carpenters, goldsmiths and potters, andagricultural scenes. On
the left-hand wall in the top row, is a hunt in the desert, second row, transport
of the dead man's statue and ceremonial dances. On the eastern, the three
upper registers are occupied by very interesting scenes of wrestlers. In the
fourth register, soldiers are attacking a fortress, and in the fifth register is
depicted Amenemhat making the prescribed pilgrimage to the holy city of
Abydos. At the upper part of the southern wall, Amenemhat is seen receiving offerings,
four registers show priests bringing offerings; the lower part shows offeringbearers
and butchers. At the top is Hotepet, the wife of Amenemhat, receiving
her offerings, four registers of priests. The two top registers of thewestern wall show scenes of wine making, and browsing goats. The thirdand fourth registers show Amenemhat and his family supervising theactivities of fishers, fowlers, and the preparation of dying and curingfish.



The tomb of Khnem-Hotep II

NO.3 is the Tomb of Khnem-Hotep II son of Neheri, scion of a
princely family with hereditary jurisdiction over the Antelope Nome, with its
capital at Menat Khufu (now El-Minia), and the eastern desert territories.
Khnem-Hotep was invested with these territories by King Amenemhat II and
later married a daughter of the prince of the dog Nome (Cynopolitan), which
then also passed to his son.
In plan this tomb is almost identical to that of Amenemhat. The
doorway is painted to imitate red granite, and on its lintel and jambs are
inscribed prayers for the dead, a calendar of the feast days on which offerings
should be presented, and the titles and name of Khnem-Hotep, together with his
The vestibule, to the rear of an open court, has two 16-sided columns
tapering towards the top. The cornice projects over the architrave ostensibly
supported on elegant laths which, like the rest of the structure, are hewn from
the rock. The chamber was divided by two pairs of columns into three aisles.
On the lower part of the walls is a long inscription cut in the rock in vertical
lines. The characters are filled in with green coloring. The royal names were
chiseled out of the rock in 1890 by some vandal hand.


The left north of the door shows the dead man's mummy being
conveyed to the Tomb of Osiris in Abydos. In the fifth row are scenes
depicting the harvesting of grapes and figs, and the cultivation of vegetables.
The bottom row shows life by the river (cattle in the water / fishing). The left
hand north wall, above, depicts the dead man hunting in the desert.
Below, to the right of the left-hand wall, Khnem-Hotep II is shown
watching various activities in his Nome. In the third row from the top two of
his officials introduce a caravan of Asian men, women and children with their
ibexes and donkeys, clad in gaily colored garments. Their sharp features,
hooked noses and pointed boards clearly identify them as Semitics. The
inscription describes them as 37 Amus (Semitic Bedouin), bringing gifts and
eye-paint to the prince of the Nome. The scribe is shown giving Khnem-Hotep
alist of the strangers. The lower rows depict the dead man's cattle andpoultry. On the rear eastern wall, the dead man is seen with his wifein a boat,
hunting waterfowl with a throwing stick; in the papyrus thicket are all manner
of birds, flying about and nesting. In the water are fish, hippopotamus and
crocodile; below is a fishing scene. To the right, the dead man is shown
catching two fish with his spear. In the middle is a niche that originally held a
seated figure of the dead man. Above the door he is seen catching birds with a

The tomb of BAKHT III

NO. 15 is the tomb of Bakht III, Khety's father and also a Nomarch of
the Antelope Nome (11th Dynasty). It is similar to those described above, but
has some interesting details in the scenes. The western wall of the hall
includes an unfinished marsh scene, men in boats are harpooning crocodiles,
and others are gathering papyrus reeds. The two top registers of the northern wall are occupied with a great
hunting scene which takes place in the desert. Here also are some scenes of
artisans and craftsmen at work .In the third to the sixth registers, Bakht and his
wife inspect the work of weavers, and are entertained by some acrobats. There
are also some scenes representing the counting of cattle, various industries,
and fishing.
The eastern wall has a number of very interesting scenes representing
military life, wrestling, an attack upon a fortress, the manufacture of wine
from the pressing of the juice in the wine-press to the sealing of the jars. The
lower part of the wall is occupied by representations of various animals,
making bread, and men carrying food offerings.The southern wallincludes scenes of a funeral procession, playing games, netting birds,leading animals receiving of offerings, harvesting, the granary ofBakht and others of everyday life.


The tomb of KHETY

NO.17 is the tomb of Khety, a Nomarch of the Antelope Nome (11th
Dynasty). A door way in the façade gives access into the rock-cut chamber,
the roof of which was originally supported by six lotus cluster - columns with
bud capitals, though only two of them , with their original coloring are still
standing. The wall paintings are also well preserved. The western wall showsKhety harpooning fish in a papyrus, and hunting birds with athrow-stick. The top register of the northern wall contains a scene ofhunting in the desert. In the second register barbers are shaving theircustomers, men and women engaged in weaving linen and spinning
thread, and net-makers. The third register shows some girl acrobats practicing
their art. The tomb features also other important scenes like, offerings,
dancing, playing of draughts, listening to music and work of carpenters, sculptors, painters.


Beni Hassan