in. uoute. 41 i
220 M. Monfalut (rail, stat., p. 191) lies on the W. bank close
to the river, which must have made great encroachments here since
the end of the 18th century. Between Monfalut and Assiut (26 M.
by river, only 17 M. by land) the Nile makes many curves.
Ma'abdeh, a small village on the E. bank, lies on a narrow
strip of fertile land between the Nile and the S. end of the rocky
Gebel Abu Feda. The hills to the N.E. of Ma'abdeh contain tombs
of the Early Empire. To the S. is the Gebel Kurneh, with a quarry
exhausted in the reign of Sethos II. (inscription).
About 3V2 M. to the N.E., on the plateau of the Arabian hills, is
the so-called Crocodile Grotto, in which a large number of mummies of
crocodiles were found, besides human mummies and a celebrated papyrus
MS. containing fragments of Homer's Iliad. The expedition is not worth
the trouble, as practically nothing is to be seen except the charred remains
of the mummies of crocodiles. — To the S.E. of Ma'abdeh lies the village
of 'Arab el-'Alyat, with tombs and quarries.
On the E. bank are (227 M.) the three villages of Beni Mo¬
hammed. To the N.E. of these, on the N. verge of a large and
fertile plain that extends S. to almost opposite Assiut, lies the Coptic
village Dlr el-Gebrai (Gabrawi), containing a Greek inscription (dis¬
covered by Mr. Harris) in the form of a dedication of the Lusitanian
Cohort, which served under Diocletian and Maximian, to Zeus,
Hercules, and Nike (Victoria). In the Gebel Mardg, a ridge about
l*/2 hr. distant, are numerous rock-tombs belonging to princes and
grandees of the nome of the 'Serpent Mountain'.
These tombs, mostly dating from the close of the Early Empire, are
divided into a N.E. and a S W. group, the former comprizing 80 tombs
(4 with inscriptions and representations), the latter about 40 (12 with re¬
presentations). The most interesting are two of the S.E. group, situated
above the village of Der el-Gebrai, belonging to Thaw and Ebe (11th Dyn.),
princes of the nome of the Serpent Mountain and of the nome of Abydos.
Like the graves of Benihasan, these tombs contain interesting represen¬
tations of handicraftsmen, harvest-scenes, fishing and hunting scenes, etc.
Above Beni Mohammed the Nile makes several great bends and
is divided into two arms by the large island Gezlret Behlg. On the
E. arm lies (233 M.) Ebnub (Abnoub), with 5800 inhab. (4800 Copts)
and fine palm-groves. The mountains on the E. bank now recede,
and the foot-hills of the Libyan chain approach the river, which is
here barred by the Dam of Assiut (Assiout Barrage) now under
construction, an imposing work intended to regulate the irrigation
of the provinces of Assiut, Minyeh, and Benisuef. It consists of
eight sections, the first and last of which have three arches and a
sluice, while the others have nine arches each. As at the Barrage
below Cairo (p. Ill), each arch can be shut by an iron door. The
dam is crossed by a carriage-road. — Immediately above the weir,
on the W. bank, is the efflux ofthe Ibrahlmlyeh Canal, the S. pro¬
longation of the Bahr Yusuf (p. 210).
We land at (247 M.) el-Hamra, the palm-enclosed harbour of
Assiut. An embanked road, shaded by fine trees, leads past the station
and handsome private and public buildings to the town in 1/i hr.