212 Route IS. ASSIUT.
The tourist-steamers spend V2 day here. — Railway Station, see p. 191.
Hotel. New Hotel, near the station, well spoken of.
Post & Telegraph Office. — Steamboat Agencies. — Hospital, with physician
educated in Europe. — Public Baths, well fitted up.
Consular Agents. The American consular agent is Bestadrot el-Khaiydt
(also German consul), one of the leading inhabitants ofthe town, residing
on the left side of the road from the harbour to the station. There are
also French and Austrian consular representatives.
Pottery and other Oriental Goods may be obtained in the Bazaar at lower
prices than at Cairo. European goods are dearer.
Assiut, or Siut (the name of which still preserves the ancient
Egyptian Syowt), enjoyed considerable importance, even in anti¬
quity, chiefly owing to its favourable situation in the midst of an
extensive and fertile plain and at the beginning of a great caravan
route leading to the oases in the Libyan desert and thenee to the
Sudan. The town was the capital of the Upper Sycamore Nome and
the chief seat of the worship of the god Wep-wat, who was repre¬
sented as a jackal or wolf of the desert. This latter circumstance
gave rise to the Greek name Lycopolis, or 'wolf town'. The modern
Assiut, which extends for about a mile from E. to W., is the largest
town (over 42,000 inhab.) in Upper Egypt, the capital of a pro¬
vince, and the residence of the Mudir. It has, however, lost part of
its commercial importance since the great caravans from W. Africa
have frequented other routes and places. The fine pottery of Assiut,
especially its bottles and pipe-bowls, is justly celebrated and forms
an important article in its export trade, which also deals in linen,
embroidered leather goods, carved ivory, natron, soda, and corn.
Near the harbour are several large palm-gardens, in which also grow
pomegranate, fig, and other fruit trees. These gardens are let at
high prices and produce rich harvests of fruit. The streets and
bazaars are full of busy life, especially on Saturdays, when the
people of the neighbourhood flock into the market.
Plotinus, the greatest of the Neo-Platonic philosophers (205-270 A. D.),
was born here in the beginning of the 3rd cent., and his system was not
uninfluenced by the priestly doctrines of his native town. From the be¬
ginning of the 4th cent, onwards Christianity was dominant in the town
and neighbourhood. Pious believers took refuge in the caves of the
necropolis to live a life of penitence apart from the world. One of these,
John of Lycopolis, at the end of the 4th cent., bore the reputation of a
saint and even of a prophet. Theodosius sent an embassy to him to en¬
quire the outcome of the civil war. The anchorite foretold a complete
but bloody victory, and this prophecy was fullilled in the victory of
Theodosius over Eugenius at Aquileia in 394 A.D. — The Egyptian Mission
of the American Presbyterians (100 stations, 26 churches, 97 schools) has
one of its chief stations at Assiut (director, Rev. Mr. Alexander).
The *Rock Tombs of Ancient Assiut lie about s/'i hr. from the
harbour (donkey with good saddle there and back 4 pias., fee 1 pias.).
Riding through part ofthe town, we diverge from the main street
at the point where it bends to the right and proceed to the left,
through the cultivated land and across a handsome bridge, to the