Cairo to Aswan: The Long Cruise: Tombs of Beni Hassan

An early start today to take the bus to the Tombs of Beni Hassan.

The area around us is related to the Middle Kingdom and particularly to the pharaoh Akhenaten, who it seems caused ructions by changing the religion of the country from Amun to Aten.

The tombs take their names from the small town at the bottom of the mountain.

Whilst we were transported with the main group we had our own English speaking guide. This was quite useful as it meant we had the tombs to ourselves, and our voices were echoing around as we listen to the explanation of what we were seeing.

We were accompanied both in-front and to the rear by armed police and army. Who also accompanied us on foot to the tombs. This reminded us of Recife in Brazil and wondered how it made our travel companions feel.

All along the way children and adults waved enthusiastically as we passed, often running from the fields to do so.

The town of Minya seemed to go on forever, however there is a new built city, New Minya which is adjacent to the old one, why they can’t think up different names instead of ‘new’ whatever is beyond me!

There was quite a steep stairway up the side of the maintain up to the main tombs which are open to the public. There are many more but either not safe or in need of renovation.

We entered the tombs of Khety 11th dynasty

his son Baqet, also 11th dynasty

Amenemhat 12th dynasty

and Khnum Hotep

this one differing in that it show foreigners or asiatics, all of which were fascinating. The walls displaying scenes different to ones we have seen before in Luxor and Aswan, telling the stories of these men who were provincial governors. By the time we finished I was getting very good at spotting the ‘false doors’.

The views from the mountain over the fields and the Nile below were beautiful if somewhat blurred in the haze.

Returning to the boat we found the tents providing shade on the sun deck had been lowered, by necessity as we were to pass under the bridge which we had crossed to go to Beni Hassan and being an older bridge, the height was limited.

Passing through safely we headed down for lunch. Then heard a crunch, the engines stopped and it seemed we had run aground, even though in the middle of the river. After some twisting and turning, drifting and driving we eventually were on our way again, not before my efficient husband had collected together passports, wallet and iPads! Just in case!

As we sailed we passed the mountains again viewing from a different perspective. Later we were treated to yet another beautiful sunset.

Apparently following severe rains in Sudan the High Dam was opened to release water from Lake Nasser, this has resulted in the riverbed changing, and as the boats are driven without sonar or navigational equipment other than experienced river men then they are not aware of the changes, until they hit them! Another few episodes with the changing river patterns had us twisting and turning to get off the new sandbanks. Our travelling companions were either unaware or unconcerned at the issues being more concerned that they got their dinner. We eventually arrived at Tel Al Amarna, way after expected but at least we arrived.

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