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Complete Guide  to Egypt travel & Tours
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The province of El Fayum

Greco roman

The province of El-fayoum is located about 100 km Southwest from Cair.

It is a natural depression in the desert linked with the Nile by a branch called BahrYousuf.. Probably its name was derived from the ancient Egyptian Word “ Baym” which means Sea or lake maybe because it contains a very has a a lake that known by the ancient  Egyptiaons as  “ Mr-Wr” which means the great sea and in Greek it became Moris,  In Arabic today  is called “Qaroun lake ”

 

Anyway the word Bym most probably was the origin of the word Al Fayum . This region is  extremely rich of many archaeological sites such as the old e City of El Fayum (Crocododopolis) in ancient Egypt it was called shedt and it was a great city during the time of the Middle kingdom.  

 

Hawara pyramid  which is considered one of the most important sites of the province, it contains the Pyramid of king Amenmehat III ( The Middle Kingdom and unfortunately nothing left of its huge and fabulous Mortuary Temple which was called the Labyrinth.

 

One of the famous areas in Fayum is Kom Mady ( Narmouthis) it is famous with the remains of the old temple which dates back top the XII dynasty and it was dedicated to the god Sobek, goddess Isis ,and goddess Renen-Wetet.

Actually there are several historical and archaeological sites which are scattered in different locations this province such as Kom Oushim ( Kranis), Um Al Athl ( Bachias), Batn Ahryt ( Theadelphia, Philadelphia, Qasr Qaroun ( Dionysius) and others.

It is  situated near the entrance of the City of El Fayum, to the North and it is about 30 km away from the center of El Fayum. In old  Greek documents this region was called Karanis and it contains 2 temples on the north and another in the south and both  date back to the Ptolemaic period. As well as  Some cisterns, public baths and houses etc. this  Graeco-Roman site located southwest of Cairo, Egypt, and excavated by the University of Michigan between 1924 and 1935.

 

 

The Kelsey Museum houses more  today than 45,000 objects from Karanis, but this large figure does not include all of the finds. Following the completion of the excavation, the Egyptian government and the  University of Michigan made a division of all of the artifacts.

Next to the two temples there is a modern museum, that exhibit some of the finds of Karanis.

 

In general the plan of the two temple of Karanis is similar to the the plan of the ancient Egyptian temple in the New Kingdom with the same elements, the only difference is that the two temples contain an offering table ( Altar) and burials for the mummies of the crocodile which was the sacred animal which symbolized god Sobek. Each temple consists of a pylon and 3 small halls then the sanctuary. To the Western side if front of the temple there is an aquarium which was dedicated for the fowling of the crocodiles putting in mind that the temple was consecrate to the cult of Sobek and some other deities .The work of constructions were accomplished definitely during the reign of the Emperor Nero, but it was restored during the reign of the Emperor Commodes. Like the southern temple the Northern Temple one  was consecrated for the cult of Sobek but also to other deities such as Amon, Serapes, Zeus, etc.

 A dwelling area was discovered in Karanis, the houses were built out of mud-bricks and red bricks with vaulted roof and stairs, gates, windows, kitchens, and stables. Some walls were painted  and covered with colorful  decorations.

To the East of the city there is a cemetery which dates back to the Ptolemaic period. Recently a great number of ostracas, jars, glassy vases, coins and a large number of papyrus of great value written in Greek which provide us details about the ancient aspects of life during that period like trade deals and taxation documents, civil contracts. Besides, remains of Public Baths built of burnt brick were found.

How to get there

Taking the desert road from cairo towards elfayoum, it is located 100KM to the south west of cairo, you may also reach El-fayoum taking the desert road from Cairo to Beni Suef, this is perfect road to get to see the pyramids of Howara or te pyrmuids of EL lahoun

Interesting tips

if you intend visiting the inside of one of the pyramids, please wear trousers (or jeans). You may have to ascend/descend ladders and/or crawl through narrow passages. For the same reasons, I would advise men to avoid wearing short trousers.