This is a list of known ancient Egyptian towns and cities. The list is for sites intended for permanent settlement and does not include fortresses and other locations of intermittent habitation.
List of ancient Egyptian towns
Avaris (/ˈævərɪs/; Egyptian: ḥw.t wꜥr.t, sometimes hut-waret; Ancient Greek: Αὔαρις, romanized: Auaris; Greek: Άβαρις, romanized: Ávaris; Arabic: حوّارة, romanized: Hawwara) was the Hyksos capital of Egypt located at the modern site of Tell el-Dab’a in the northeastern region of the Nile Delta. It was occupied from about the 18th century BC until its capture by Ahmose I. As the main course of the Nile migrated eastward, its position at the hub of Egypt’s delta emporia made it a significant capital suitable for trade.
Bubastis, also known in Arabic as Tell-Basta or in Egyptian as Per-Bast, was an ancient Egyptian city. Bubastis is often identified with the biblical Pi-Beseth (Hebrew: פי-בסת py-bst, Ezekiel 30:17). It was the capital of its nome, located along the Nile River in the Delta region of Lower Egypt. It was notable as a centre of worship for the feline goddess Bastet and, therefore, the principal depository in Egypt of mummies of cats.
Tanis, biblical Zoan, modern San Al-Hagar in al-Qibliyyah, was an ancient city in the Nile River delta, capital of the 14th nome (province) of Lower Egypt and, at one time, of the whole country. The city was important as one of the nearest ports to the Asiatic seaboard.
Memphis, or Men-nefer, was the ancient capital of Inebu-hedj, the first nome of Lower Egypt known as mḥw (“north”). Its ruins are located near the modern town of Mit Rahina (Arabic: ميت رهينة), 20 km (12 mi) south of Giza in Greater Cairo, Egypt.
During its golden age, Memphis thrived as a regional centre for commerce, trade, and religion. According to legends related in the early third century BC by Manetho, a priest and historian who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom during the Hellenistic period of ancient Egypt, the city was founded by King Menes. It was the capital of ancient Egypt (Kemet or Kumat) during the Old Kingdom and remained an important city throughout ancient Egyptian history. It occupied a strategic position at the mouth of the Nile Delta and was home to bustling activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer (not to be confused with Peru-nefer at Avaris), features a high density of workshops, factories, and warehouses distributing food and merchandise throughout the ancient kingdom.
Memphis was believed to be under the protection of the god Ptah, the patron of craftsmen. Its great temple, Hut-ka-Ptah (meaning “Enclosure of the ka of Ptah”), was one of the most prominent structures in the city. The name of this temple, rendered in Greek as Aἴγυπτoς (Ai-gy-ptos) by Manetho, is believed to be the etymological origin of the modern English name Egypt.
The history of Memphis is closely linked to that of the country itself. Its eventual downfall is believed to have been due to the loss of its economic significance in late antiquity, following the rise of coastal Alexandria. Its religious value was diminished after the abandonment of the ancient religion following the Edict of Thessalonica (380 AD), which made Nicene Christianity the sole religion of the Roman empire.
Today, the ruins of the former capital offer fragmented evidence of its past. Along with the pyramid complex at Giza, they have been preserved as a World Heritage Site since 1979. The site is open to the public as an open-air museum.
Thebes (Arabic: طيبة, Ancient Greek: Θῆβαι, Thēbai), known to the ancient Egyptians as Waset, was one of the most famous ancient Egyptian towns located along the Nile about 800 kilometres (500 mi) south of the Mediterranean. Its ruins lie within the modern Egyptian city of Luxor.
Thebes was the principal city of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome (Sceptre nome) and was the capital of Egypt for long periods during the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom eras. It was close to Nubia and the Eastern Desert, with valuable mineral resources and trade routes. It was a cult centre and the most revered city during many periods of ancient Egyptian history. The site of Thebes includes areas on both the eastern bank of the Nile, where the temples of Karnak and Luxor stand and where the city was situated and the western bank, where a necropolis of large private and royal cemeteries and funerary complexes can be found. In 1979, the ruins of ancient Thebes were classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.