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Assiut is the largest town in Upper Egypt and lies about 234 miles south of Cairo. It is an old city which was first settled in pharaonic times, then the capital of the Thirteenth Nome of Upper Egypt and named Syut. Later, the Greeks renamed it Lycopolis which means ‘city of the wolf. This was due to the importance of the Jackal gods Wepwawet and Anubis. Although the city was of considerable strategic value in its position between Upper and Lower Egypt, it somehow managed to stay clear of national importance as a capital. Two very important people we know of were born in the Greek city of Lycopolis. Probably the best know saint of Christian Egypt, John of Lycopolis was a carpenter who withdrew to the desert of the nearby mountains. He was a prophetwho for example, predicted Theodosius, the Roman emperor’s victory over Maximus and Eugenius. He died in 394 AD. Less known is Plotinus, who was a neo-Platonist who studied under the founder of that movement, Ammonius. He was born here in 205 AD. Later he moved to Rome where he taught a doctrine based on the ‘union of the soul with God through ecstasy and contemplation’.
In more recent times, it was the end of the road for camel caravans that traveled up the 40 Day Road from Darfur in the Sudan, and as late as the 1850’s it had the largest slave market in Egypt. Today Asyut is the capital of the Said ( Upper Egypt) governorate, has a large Christian community and is the region’s most important agricultural center, dealing in cotton and grain. It also has some carpet manufacturing industry; it is also the home of the third largest university in Egypt.
Besides the ancient attractions near Asyut, there is also Banana Island, which is a nice place to relax. On the north edge of the City you will find the 19th century English barrage, which was built to control the Nile by regulating the flow of water into the lbrahimiya Canal. This Canal is an important source of irrigation water though out the region. Also notable is the Lillian Trasher Orphanage. The founder of the Orphanage was born in Jacksonville, Florida but came to Egypt in 1910 and died there in 1961. The orphanage is a source of pride to the large, local Coptic population.


Major tourist sites

Gabrawy Monastery

This wonderful site is located in “Gabrawy monastery village”, about 20 km far from the north-east of Assiut, the town. These monuments are a group of tombs carved in the body of the mountain, for the governors and princes of the l2thfamily during the ancient and middle eras. The tombs are divided into southern and northern tombs. The southern are two tombs belong to the middle era, and the northern are located in the eastern mountain, in front of a village called Arab-Atyat. These tombs are famous for what is on its walls of beautiful decorations and naturally colored paintings.

The Virgin Mary’s monastery in Ganadela monastery

Ganadela monastery lies in a big monumental cave in the western mountain, its monuments are concentrated in a number of old caves belong to the 1st century. In this monastery, there are two churches; the first is the Virgin Mary’s church. lit is carved in the rocks and on its walls and ceiling there are some frescos which belong to the 6th century. The second church is the Eastern Church. Its ceiling consists of nine domes, six for the courtyard and three for the temples.

Muharraq Monastery

It was a very unique event when the Holy family came to Egypt, and it represents reasonable evident that Egypt is the land of Peace and security. When the Holy Family ran away to Egypt because of the non-human and humiliating treatment of Romans about 2002 years ago, Assiut was one of 26 sites that Jesus’ family stayed in for a long time. The tree that overs had owed the Virgin Maryin Dayrut is still present in Anpa Srapamon monastery. Then, the Blessed family walked to the village Meer where they stayed at the foot of the mountain Qusqam for a whole 6 months and that’s where the Muharraq monastery is located till this moment. Muharraq monastery gathers the oldest church in the Christian world which was built in 38 AD, and that’s where the oldest ‘Admittance Place” Also, in the monas king Xenon in the year monumental church Also, in the monastery lies the fortress of the king Xenon in the year 474A.D. and there are two monumental churches. Muharrq monastery is surrounded by a 12 meters height fence built in the 4th century. While returning, Jesus’ family passed by the western mountain far from the south-west of Assiut by 10 km and the height of

l00 m from the surface of earth .That’s where the family ended its journey, as they stayed in an ancient cave belongs to the year 2500 B.C. Then the family went backto Palestine by the Nile.

The Virgin Mary’s Monastery in Doronka

The virgin Mary monastery in Doronka is located on Western Assiut Mountain 100 meters high, and 10km from Assiut city. It has a very ancient cave which was found since 2500 B.C. and from which the Holy Family started their journey back to Palestine, and later on the monastery was made beside-it. Dair Durunka is approximately 50km. south of Dayr Al- Muharraq and 9km. south of Assiut, the historical city of Lycopolis. In the convent we visit a large cave where according to tradition the Holy Family has stayed before taking a boat north, returning to Palestine. The cave which had been once used as a pharaonic quarry attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims yearly. It is known that this monastery is better equipped than any other place on the route of the Holy family to receive large numbers of pilgrims, especially during the festival of the Holy Virgin in August. Many are coming because of repeated apparitions of the Holy Virgin in the past decades.

Deir Rifa

Some people believe the Holy Family went further south to Dayr Rita, Dayr al-Ganadla and some Ethiopians believe they even went as far as Ethiopia. At Dayr Rifa is an absolutely magnificent Cave church built in a Ptolemaic temple. This location is, however, difficult to visit due to a neighboring army base.

Meer monuments - Quseia town

It’s 65 km far from the city of Assiut. It contains a group of tombs dug in the mountain to be the graveyard of the capital of the old county. The God of Meerwas called “Hatt hour” and the Village itself was called Qees’ in the ancient times, but later-in the Romanian era- was called ‘Qusay”

The tombs of Meer are famous for its paintings which were very similar ~9 the, original subjects. Also, the drawings of the ordinary life of the Egyptian worker were accurately recorded on the walls of the tombs.

Mujahedin Mosque

It’s considered as one of the oldest high hanged Egyptian mosques It was built at the ottoman style, and it had a big high minaret. This minaret is quadrangular in shape. The mosque has a separate place for women prayers, and its entrance is decorated by wooden and stony paintings at the ottoman style. It said to be built on the ruins of a Mamluki mosque.

Farghal Mosque

It’s located in the town of Abou¬teeg, and has two minarets. It’s considered as one of the most famous religious tourist place in the governorate of Assiut

Abueleion Mosque

ABUELEION mosque is found in Dayroot and was built by Mr. Ibrahim Abueleion.