Minya Governorate

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

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.

Etymology

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.

Overview

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 with assistance from international organizations.

Municipal divisions

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.

Municipal Divisions

  • Abu Qirqas
  • El Idwa
  • Minya
  • Minya 1
  • And Minya 2
  • Minya 3
  • Beni Mazar
  • Deir Mawas
  • New Minya
  • New City
  • Maghagha
  • Malawit Gharb
  • Markaz
  • Mallawi
  • Matai
  • Samalut

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
  • Minya
  • New Minya
  • Beni Mazar
  • Deir Mawas
  • Maghagha
  • Mallawi
  • Matai
  • Samalut

Population

According to population estimates from 2015, most residents in the town live in rural areas, with an urbanization 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.

History

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.

Greco-Roman period

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 found 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.

Byzantine period

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 have stayed during its flight into Egypt. Empress Helena built its church, 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.

Arab period

Maghagha hosts the mosque of the famous Muslim Zayid ibn al Mugharah.

Modern history

Today, Minya Governorate has the highest concentration of Coptic Christians of 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.

Archaeology

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 (so-called the El-Sawi era) at ancient Oxyrhynchus. Archaeologists also uncovered bronze coins, clay seals, Roman tombstones and small crosses.

Projects

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.

National Holiday

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.

Industrial zones

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.

Important sites

  • Akhetaten (Amarna)
  • Dehenet (Akoris or Tihna el-Gebel)
  • Ansena (Antinoöpolis or Sheikh Ibada)
  • Beni Hasan
  • Deir el-Bersha
  • el-Sheikh Sa’id
  • Fraser Tombs
  • Hatnub
  • 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

Notable people

  • 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, 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 Egyptian Football Team
  • Besides, Alla Mohammed Hassan Limt, Musician

Statistics

  • Total area: 32,279 km².
  • Percentage to the total area of Egypt: 3.2%.
  • Population: around 5.8 million
  • Population density: 115 people/km²
  • Rural population:
  • Percentage to 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.