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Nubia  - History of Nubia Egypt


History of Nubia Egypt


The area to the south of Kom Ombo until the Sisal Mountains in the south of the Nile valley is basically known as Nubia, Nubia is divided into two parts:


Upper Nubia which is part of Sudan now, and lower Nubia which the most southern part of Egypt and ends up in to Wadi Halfa


It is in our modern time that attention has been given to this part of Egypt since the construction of the Aswan First Dam and then flowed by the Aswan High Dam, ever since that time the eyes of the Egyptologists over the world turned to this site.


The etymology of the name of Nubia is uncertain but some researchers believe it is derived from the ancient Egyptian word Nbu, meaning gold, referring to the gold mines for which Nubia was famous. .the ancient Egyptian texts have no reference to this name, but they referred to Nubia generally as Ta-Seti, meaning the land of the Bow, a clear reference to the weapon favored by the Nubians.


Nubian was a very important commercial route for African trade, as it was rich with gold, fine stones and temper.


At the times of the 6th dynasty ancient Egyptians send expedition to upper Nubia to trade and recruit Nubian people into the army.

At the time of the Middle Kingdom the more military expeditions were sent to control bigger areas of Nubia and prevent immigrants to come t Egypt expect for trade.


At the time of the New Kingdom especially during the 18th dynasty, more of these campaigns were sent to Nubia to secure the northern borders of Egypt. King Thutmosis II took over the city of Dongula which is located at the fourth cataract, he added a new principality to the country by appointing a new ruler for Kosh, it was also when many of the Egyptian monuments where constructed ,


By the end of the New Kingdom the province of Nubia was controlled directly by the priests of the god Amon. They established a cult centre in the city of Nabat for the god Amon Ra.


During the seventh century AD the capital of Kosh moved from the city of Nabata to the city of Morei, and the influence of the ancient Egyptian civilization started to fade gradually.


By the Greco-Roman times, the area had once again flourished, and many temples were built or rebuilt at this time.


In the Roman times the many roman emperors sent military campaigns to suppress the Belimy tribes who have waged many raids on the southern provinces of Egypt.


When Christianity became the prevailing religion in Egypt, many Christian monasteries were built in Nubia and many of the Nubian monuments were converted into churches. Including the Temples of Philae and the temples of Dendour,Tafa, Beit EL Wali, Gerf Housian, and Wadi-Es-Sebua.


With the spread of Christianity through Nubia Pagan beliefs began to dwindle along with Morai culture. A new age was beginning, in which Christianity played an important rule, during the eight and ninth, Nubia enjoyed growth and prosperity in both political and cultural spheres, at the rate which had not been for a long time.


The Coptic patriarch at Alexandria was acknowledged as head of the many churches, monasteries and cathedrals built in the style of the basilicas common in the Byzantine Empire.


Folk Heritage of Nubia


Because of its long cultural history, the folk heritage of Nubia is rich, varied and wonderfully original. It is has distinctive features since its the result of the mingled groups that make up the Nubian people. The Kenzi who speak the Matouki language and the Faijke who speak their own language, and the tribe of Aliqat who moved to Nubia from the Sinai in the 18th century.


Nubian folk heritage naturally includes building, furniture, arts, crafts , jewelry and costumes.



The Nubian houses are built of stone, clay and sand; the roofs are commonly built of Jareed and grain stalks. The roofs of the well-to–do are arched domes of clay bricks.

The walls of the house especially the façade are decorated with ornaments and paintings of flags, flowers birds and animals. Crockery is often used for wall decorations; a plate usually occupies the centre of the wall decor.


A Nubian house is usually composed of:

- The entrance hall opens to a courtyard.

- Domed bedrooms.

- The kitchen and toilet.


Amulets, charms and talismans:

Nubians use amulets, charms and talismans for good luck and protection from the evil eye; some are painted on walls in the form of scorpions, eyes or triangles.


Some are made of braided beads, shells or hair which hang on he post of the bed, or hang thickly form the ceiling. Baskets made of palm branches and decorated with white shells hanging from the ceiling may have the same function.



Nubian folk dancing is practiced in groups by women and men of all ages. A number of folk dances are performed in seasons of sowing and harvest, in prayer for prosperity and more crops.


Marriage and birth:

In Nubia marriages are usually arranged by the elder relatives. The most common marriage is between cousins. The dowry at that case is much lower than what an outsider would have to pay. The amount varies in different tribes. Presents and money gifts are given to both families to help with the wedding expenses.


Since the Nile plays a very important role in Nubian culture, the couple have to go down to the river on their wedding night and wash into water to ensure prosperity, good health and many children.


When a male child is born, the birth is celebrated on the seventh day with the slaughter of a sheep. They recite passages of the Quran and the boy is given a name. But when the child is a female, they invite close friends and go together to the Nile bank where the baby is named.


Nubian art and its symbols:

Nubian art reflects Nubian culture. Many of it symbols and motives are significant experinces of folk traditions. This can be easily seen in wall paintings that decorate the façade and entrances halls of many Nubian houses. These symbols reoccur in the designs of beadworks and many kinds of baskets.


- Sward in the Nubian culture stands for courage and heroic achievements.

- Stars and crescent are Islamic symbols of good fortune.

- The black cat, crows and owls carry bad omens

- Roses and flowers in general stands for friendship and love

- The apple stands for feminine attraction

- Prayer rug stands for purity and chastity


Nubian monuments:

When the High Dam was built, the rising water of Lake Nasser threaten to flood the many Nubian monuments, therefore a Worldwide rescue campaign was launched to save all Nubian monuments. Thanks to the collaboration of many different nations under the supervision of UNESCO, we were able to save many monuments

How to get there

The area to the south of Kom Ombo until the Sisal Mountains in the south of the Nile valley

Interesting tips


Ideally the best time to visit outside sites is during the forenoon, when the sun has not yet reached its zenith. Sadly though being ideal is not always possible, especially on a tight schedule, and so the following is a good idea for when sites should be seen Please note that only the sites which are referred to as “usual tourist sites” are included in this list. For advice on sites not given here, you should contact your tour agent.

Pharonic sites

Coptic sites

Greco roman

Nubian sites

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