Qasr El Bagawat ‘Necropolis of Al-Bagawat’ is one of the World's best preserved early Christian cemeteries. Cascading down the southern foothills of Gebel Al-Teir are the desert brown, domed mausoleums of one of the earliest and best preserved Christian cemeteries in the world, Bagawat.
The Cemetery of Bagawat is located about 1km north of theTemple of Hibis and about three kilometers to the North of the city of AlKharga behind the Temple of Hibis. This cemetery got its name from its style of architecture as most of the tombs there were constructed in the form of domes,or "Qubwat" in Arabic which transformed afterwards into Bagawat. This cemetery hosts one of the most important and most ancient Christian churches in the whole world
The cemetery dates back to period ranging from the second to the seventh century AD when the Christians escaping from Northern Egypt resorted to the Kharga Oasis. It contains 236 tombs constructed as small domed chapels with a central church in the middle which is considered one of the most ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt. In the center of the cemetery stands a Christian church that still had "traces of saints painted on the wall" Most of the tombs are a single room. Some are larger and six have domed roofs. Evidence indicates the area was a burial site long before the Christian era. Most have plain interiors, but there are several with wall paintings and graffiti.
The cemetery occupies a surface area of 10,000 squares and the most important tombs of the cemetery is the tomb of Exodus which represents the Israelis going out of Egypt and the Pharos forcing them out of the country.There is also the tomb of "peace' that contains reliefs of Jacob, the Virgin Mary, Saint Paul, and Saint Takla. Other tombs display many colorful Coptic inscriptions and writings that demonstrate the Coptic life during this period.
Chapel of the Exodus One of the earliest chapels in the necropolis, the interior of the chapel of the Exodus is decorated with scenes from the Old Testament, which run in two circles around the interior of the dome. The upper register shows Moses leading the Israelites, the Israelites on their journey through Sinai, Pharaoh and the Egyptian army. In addition to the original paintings, there is graffiti in this chapel dating from the ninth century to the present day.
Chapel of the Peace Located in the southwest corner of the necropolis, the domed Chapel of peace also has a richly decorated interior. The most exiting frescoes are around the central panel of the dome.