El Fayoum

Photo by Roman Bruehwiler.

El Fayoum is part of the Tentative list of Egypt in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

The Oasis of Fayoum was one of the first places in Egypt where agriculture was practised. Cities and religious centers like Karanis and Krokodilopolis developed here (now reduced to archaeological sites).

Map of El Fayoum

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Wojciech Fedoruk

Poland - 26-Feb-23 -

El Fayoum (T) by Wojciech Fedoruk

Of the five components of this proposal, I saw only two – Karanis and Soknopaiu Nesos. From the research I did, it seems that Qasr Qarun is still worth visiting, but there is not much left to see in Theadelphia.

Karanis is once quite a large village settled in the times of the Ptolemaic and inhabited in Roman times, overlooking the oasis of Fayoum. It is located on the road from Cairo to Wadi Al-Hitan, so at least a few travelers may have passed by unknowingly. To this day, mainly the ruins of two temples have remained here, the residential buildings are completely ruined. The place is unattended – although there is a center for visitors, you can see that it has not been renovated since its inception, that is for some 30 years. Our local guide showed us an ancient public bath where rubbish was piled up. Next to it is a rather weak museum (but with a wonderfully preserved mummy with a coffin portrait in the Greek style).

Then it was a little better – we went to the Lake Qarum National Park, in its northern part. We paid $ 5 per person for admission and went to the ancient village of Soknopaiu Nesos or in Arabic Dimah Al-Siba (see photo). The village was settled in the times of the Ptolemaic, in the 3rd century BC and its name comes from the god Soknopaios (as you can guess, the name is Greek rather than Egyptian). Soknopaios is the Greek version of Sobek, the crocodile god. The village is beautifully situated near Lake Qarum, which can be reached by an ancient, well-preserved road. Its high walls can be seen from afar in the desert. There is quite a lot left inside, and soon there will be even more – piles of freshly produced bricks are piled up around to reconstruct the village. Soknopaiu Nesos should be easily combined with Gebel Quatrani, a proposal for 2024, as it lays within the Lake Qarum National Park and may be probably one of the inscribed components.

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Full Name
El Fayoum
Archaeological site - Egyptian Human activity - Agriculture
1994 Added to Tentative List

Unesco Website: El Fayoum

The site has 5 locations

El Fayoum: Kom Aushim (Karanis) (T)
El Fayoum: Dimai (Soknopaiounesos) (T)
El Fayoum: Qasr Qarun (T)
El Fayoum: Batn I hrit (Theadelphia) (T)
El Fayoum: Byahma-Medi (T)
WHS 1997-2024