230 Route 17. GIRGA. From Assiût
famous temple was finally completed in the 12th year of Trajan. After
Christianity established itself hère the vicinity of Panopolis became crowded
with convents. Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, who had been banished
to the oasis of Hîbeh (Khârgeh) on account of his disbelief in the divine
motherhood of the Virgin Mary, was attacked there by the plundering
Blemmyes, and carried captive into the Thebaïd, where he surrendered
himself to the prefect of Panopolis, to avoid a charge of wilful flight. He
died in Panopolis-Akhmîm (ca. 440). Even after the conquest of Egypt
by the Mohammedans the temple of the 'great town' of Akhmîm was, as
Abûlfidâ and other Arabs relate, among the most important remains of
the days of the Pharaohs. The temple ruins now lie outside the town,
to the N. Of one of thèse temples the only remains are a few stones of
the 18th Dynasty and some scanty fragments of a building of the Ptolemaic
period. Thèse are reached by the water when the Nile overflows its
banks and are gradually being swept away. A second temple, farther to
the N.W., built under Trajan, is represented by a few blocks only.
In 1884 an extensive Necropolis was discovered among the low hills
about 3 M. to the N.E. of Akhmîm. The route thither leads via (2l/t M.)
El-Eaaâwîsh, in a hill beyond which are numerous tombs of the New Empire
mingled with some of the Ancient Empire. To the N. and W. is a Christian
cemetery, of the 5-15th cent., and in the vicinity is a Coptic convent. The
tombs to the N., which are the oldest, date from the Roman, Ptolemaic, and
Egyptian periods. Farther up the mountain are tombs ofthe 6th Dynasty.
— To the S. of Akhmîm is a rock-chapel constructed under King Eyë
Continuing our journey up the Nile, we soon see, close to the
E. bank, the conspicuous convent-village of Deir el-Hadid, resem¬
bling a fortress. About 100 men, women, and children occupy the
convent. The church is lighted by Windows in the cupolas.
77 M. El-Menshiyeh (Menchah), a steamboat and railway station
(p. 203) on the W. bank, is merely a peasants' town, with 11,000 in¬
hab. and very few houses of a better class. It occupies the site of
Ptolemaïs Hermiu, a town found ed and endowed with great privilèges
by Ptolemy Soter I. Its Egyptian name was Psoï. Strabo described
it as 'the largest town in the Thebaïd and not inferior in size to
Memphis; with a constitution drawn up in the Hellenic manner'.
About 772 M. to the W. of El-Menshîyeh, near the village of
Kawâmil, are large cemeteries of the most remote period.
Beside the village of El-Ahâïweh, on theE. bank, are otherburial
places of the prehistoric period and the New Empire. On the hill,
close to a sheikh's tomb, are the ruins of an Egyptian brick fortress.
— On the W. bank is the village of El-Ahâïweh el-Gharbîyeh.
The Gebel Tûkh, on the Arabian bank, approaches close to the
stream, about 3 M. below El-Menshîyeh. Extensive quarries (with
Greek, Latin, and demotic inscriptions) exist hère, especially
near Sheikh Mûsâ ; thèse yielded building-material for Ptolemaïs.
88 M. Girga (Guerga), on the W. bank, is a railway-station (p. 203)
and has post and telegraph offices. It was formerly the capital ofthe
province of Girga (comp. p. 229), and contains over 17,000 inhab.,
of whom 4800 are Copts. A large weekly market is held on Tues¬
day. Many of the houses in the town are built of burnt brick and
decorated with glazed tiles. Outside the town lies a Roman Catholic