Minya Governorate is one of the governorates of Upper Egypt. Its capital city, El Minya, is located on the left bank of the Nile River.
- El Minya Governorate Location
- Municipal divisions
- Municipal Divisions
- Cities and towns
- Cities and towns with over 15,000 inhabitants
- Pharaonic Monuments in Minya
- National Holiday
- Industrial zones
- Agriculture and industry
- Important sites
- Monasteries in the Minya Governorate
- Notable people
El Minya Governorate Location
El Minya Governorate lies approximately 245 km (152 mi) south of Cairo on the western bank of the Nile River, which flows north through the city. Beni Suef governorate borders it from the north and Asyut to the south.
The name originates from the chief city of the governorate, initially known in Sahidic Coptic as Tmoone and in Bohairic as Thmonē, meaning “the residence”, about a monastery formerly in the area. The name may also originate from the city’s name in Egyptian Men’at Khufu.
The poverty rate is more than 60% in this governorate, where the total population is nearly 6 million. Recently the government has provided some assistance via social safety networks, specifically, some financial aid to residents with disabilities and job opportunities for them and others. The funding has been coordinated by the country’s Ministry of Finance and international organisations’ assistance.
The governorate is divided into municipal divisions with a total estimated population as of March 2019 of 5,807,919. In the case of the Al Minya governorate, there are several aqsam and marakiz and a new city. Sometimes a markaz and a kism share a name.
- Abu Qirqas
- El Idwa
- Minya 1
- And Minya 2
- Minya 3
- Beni Mazar
- Deir Mawas
- New Minya
- New City
- Malawit Gharb
Cities and towns
As of 2018, 10 cities (or towns) in El Minya had a population of over 15,000 inhabitants.
Cities and towns with over 15,000 inhabitants
- Abu Qirqas
- El Idwa
- New Minya
- Beni Mazar
- Deir Mawas
According to population estimates from 2015, most residents in the town live in rural areas, with an urbanisation rate of only 18.9%. Out of an estimated 5,566,702 people residing in the governorate, 4,683,284 live in rural instead of only 979,418 in urban areas.
Al Minya Governorate is little known today compared to its great wealth of archaeological sites. Its history, including Ancient Egyptian, Hellenistic, Roman and Arab periods, has not yet received the full attention of scholars.
Ancient Egyptian period
Dehnet, Fraser Tombs, Sharuna, and Zawyet el-Maiyitin comprise monuments dating back to the Old Kingdom.
Bani Hasan al Shurruq houses 390 rock-cut decorated tombs and chapels from the Middle Kingdom (2000–1580 BC, especially the sixteenth Dynasty). The Speos Artemidos is nearby and hosts temples built by Queen Hatshepsut.
Akhetaten was built by Pharaoh Akhenaten and dedicated to the god Aten. The glorious remains of the palaces, temples and tombs still exist today. Akhenaten lived in isolation with his wife, Nefertiti, and daughters, devoting himself to his monotheistic religion.
Other significant archaeological sites in the governorate of Al Minya include Deir Abu Hinis, Deir el-Bersha, El-Sheikh Sa’id, and Tuna el-Gebel.
El Ashmunein (Hermopolis Magna) was the region’s capital. It was the main centre of worship of the god Thoth. Today, the ruins of a Greek temple, similar to the Parthenon, can be still found. The tomb and chapel of Petosiris are located near the modern village of Tuna el-Gebel. Antinoöpolis was built in 130 AD. by the Roman emperor Hadrian in memory of his favourite and eromenos Antinous.
The Monastery of the Virgin Mary at Gebel el-Teir is an important Christian site near the city of Samalut. It stands on one of the sites where the Holy Family stayed during its flight into Egypt. Empress Helena built its church, and the mother of Constantine the Great built a church in 328.
Oxyrhynchus was an important administrative centre during the Hellenistic Period and remained an essential archaeological source for papyri from Byzantine Egypt.
Maghagha hosts the mosque of the famous Muslim Zayid ibn al Mugharah.
Today, Minya Governorate has the highest concentration of Coptic Christians at 50% of the total population. There are also several active monasteries in the region.
In 2018, a Coptic cathedral was consecrated by Pope Tawadros II in the small village of Al Ur, near Samalut. Christians dedicated the new cathedral to the 21 Coptic Martyrs of Libya, thirteen from Al Ur.
In February 2019, Egyptian archaeologists in the Tuna El-Gebel site discovered several ancient heritages. Among these discoveries, fifty mummy collections wrapped in linen and stone coffins or wooden sarcophagi dated to the Ptolemaic Kingdom. Also, they found twelve graves in four burial chambers 9m (30ft) deep belonged to children. One of the remains was the partly uncovered skull enclosed in linen.
In May 2020, Egyptian-Spanish archaeological mission headed by Esther Ponce revealed a unique cemetery. This cemetery consists of one room built with glazed limestone dating back to the 26th Dynasty (the El-Sawi era) at ancient Oxyrhynchus. Archaeologists also uncovered bronze coins, clay seals, Roman tombstones and small crosses.
Pharaonic Monuments in Minya
Minya province enjoyed several ancient Egyptian monuments and was the cult centre of Atenism.
Tell El-Amarna was formally known as Akhetaten. The new name came from a local village called El- Till. The word Amarna came from the Bedouin tribe that settled in this village. The word Tell, in Arabic, means a mound or a small hill. But interestingly enough, Tel El-Amarna is a flat piece of land beside the Nile Valley. The ancient name, Akhetaten, means the horizon of the solar disk. It is very similar to the meaning of Amun Dwelt at Thebes, Ptah at Memphis and other gods at their favoured places. King Akhenaten offered this place to be the home for his god Aton.
The area is a plain field, separated from the Nile Valley by a strip of palm trees. It stretches 12 kilometres from north to south. The site is covered mainly with sand and outlined with ruins of temples, palaces and houses that archaeologists discovered or are trying to find. Some tourists considered it one of the most romantic places they have ever seen because of the silence and the peaceful beauty that the area gained through the centuries.
Beni Hassan al-Shurrug
Location: 20 km (12 miles) south of Minya, Egypt
The site lies on the Eastern Bank of the Nile, 20 km south of the city of Al-Minya. It houses 39 rock-cut tombs decorated with scenes depicting local and regional life during the Middle Kingdom. Many of these have stages of violent warfare and military training.
The tombs include the following:
Tomb of Amenemhet (tomb 2): Amenemhet is described as the ‘Prince of the Oryx Nome’ and was a governor of the Oryx nome. Here one finds one of two inscriptions within the necropolis that help define Egyptian life in this period. It consists of thirty-two lines on the door. There are also unusual scenes depicting hunting in the desert on the north wall. His tomb is remarkable for having a false door on the west, where the dead are supposed to enter.
Tomb of Khnumhotep (tomb 3): A governor under Amenemhet III (about 1820 BC), Khnumhotep is described as ‘the hereditary lord’, and his tomb is beautifully done with scenes of daily life. His biographical inscription within the tomb is 222 columns of text and helps define Egyptian life during this period. There are also acrobats over the door.
Tomb of Baqet III (tomb 15): If ever there was an imaginative person, the father of Kheti (see below) was one. A strange tomb with scenes depicting a hunt for unicorns, a serpent-headed quadruped, a ‘Sethian’ animal and a griffin. Others show wrestlers and gazelles involved in strange behaviour. The Egyptians felt that evil forces were in the desert, and hunting helped preserve order.
Tomb of Kheti (tomb 17): During the 11th Dynasty, Kheti was a governor of the Oryx nome. The tomb has depictions of daily life during the period.
About two miles south is the Temple of Hatshepsut in an area popularly called Istabl Antar (Stables of Antar).
Ibrahimiya Canal, Minya
In 1981, USAID’s Basic Village Service Program (BVS) had several irrigational and roadway projects going on in several markazes in the Menya Governorate. In 2013, The United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security helped farmers in Minya by consulting with them and taking soil samples.
The national holiday of the Minya governorate is on 18 March. It commemorates those executed by the British at Deir Mawas on 18 March 1919.
According to the Egyptian Governing Authority for Investment and Free Zones (GAFI), in affiliation with the Ministry of Investment (MOI), the following industrial zones are located in this governorate:
- Al Matahra, east of the Nile
- Heavy industrial zone – Wadi el Sararyah
- New Minya
Agriculture and industry
Minya Governorate is an important agricultural and industrial region. The principal crops in this governorate are sugarcane, cotton, beans, soybeans, garlic, onions, vegetables of various sorts, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelons, and grapes. The leading local industries are food processing, especially sugar, and the drying and grinding of onions. Spinning and weaving cotton, perfumes, oils and fats, cement-making, quarrying (primarily limestone), and brick-making are also among the industries known in this governorate.
- Akhetaten (Amarna)
- Dehenet (Akoris or Tihna el-Gebel)
- Ansena (Antinoöpolis or Sheikh Ibada)
- Beni Hasan
- Deir el-Bersha
- el-Sheikh Sa’id
- Fraser Tombs
- Hebenu (Kom el-Ahmar)
- Herwer (Hur)
- Khmun (Hermopolis Magna or el-Ashmunein)
- Per Medjed (Oxyrhynchus or el-Bahnasa)
- Sharuna (el-Kom el-Ahmar Sawaris)
- Speos Artemidos (Istabl Antar)
- Tuna el-Gebel
- Besides, Zawyet el-Maiyitin
Monasteries in the Minya Governorate
- Monastery of Saint Fana, near Mallawi
- Abdel Hakim Amer, military general
- Akhenaten, Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty
- Akram Habib, Biblical scholar and social activist
- Hakim, folkloric singer
- Hoda Shaarawi, female activist
- Khufu, the second Pharaoh of the Fourth dynasty
- Louis Awad, writer and intellectual
- Maria al-Qibtiyya, wife of Muhammad
- Sanaa Gamil, actress
- Suzanne Mubarak, the former first lady of Egypt
- Taha Hussein, writer and intellectual
- Mervat Amin, artist
- Ahmed Hassan, leader of the Egyptian Football Team
- Besides, Alla Mohammed Hassan Limt, a Musician
- Total area: 32,279 km².
- Percentage of the total area of Egypt: 3.2%.
- Population: around 5.8 million
- Population density: 115 people/km²
- Rural population:
- Percentage of the whole population of Egypt: 5.1%
- Population growth rate:
- Besides, Al-Minya Governorate administrative divisions: 9 localities, 57 local administrative units, 346 small villages, and 1,429 tiny villages.