Middle Egypt


The Bride of Upper Egypt, it sits on the boundary between Upper and Lower Egypt, Minya is the capital of Minya Governorate in Upper Egypt. A provincial capital 245km south of Cairo on the western bank of the Nile River, it was the capital of the Upper Egyptian cotton trade, but its factories now process sugar and produce soap and perfume.

The name of the city is derived from its Ancient Egyptian name Men'at Khufu meaning the nursing city of Khufu, linking it to the Pharaoh Khufu or Cheops, founder of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Minya has one of the highest concentrations of Christian Coptic population in Egypt (approximately 50% of total population).

One of the major Coptic Christian areas of Upper Egypt, Sohag city lies on the west bank of the Nile. It has been the capital of Sohag Governorate since 1960. Prior to that, the capital was the city of Girga and the name of the governorate was Girga Governorate. Although there are few sights in the city, the nearby White and Red Monasteries, and the town of Akhmim across the river, are all of interest. Police presence here is stronger than in Asyut and Minya and travelers are discouraged from staying. Sohag has discovered tombs and continues to be a subject of much study. It is an ancient cemetery used by the Egyptians for high-ranking officials and royal staff.


Assiut is the largest town in Upper Egypt and lies about 234 miles south of Cairo. It is an old city which was first settled in pharaonic times, then the capital of the Thirteenth Nome of Upper Egypt and named Syut. Later, the Greeks renamed it Lycopolis which means 'city of the wolf'. This was due to the importance of the Jackal gods Wepwawet (Opener of Ways) and Anubis. Although the city was of considerable strategic value in its position between Upper and Lower Egypt, it somehow managed to stay clear of national importance as a capital.