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Tanta
Arabic: tantā



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Tanta

Streets of Tanta, Egypt, leading up to the mosque of Ahmad al-Badawi.
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Streets of Tanta leading up to the mosque of Ahmad al-Badawi. Photo: Martyn Smith.

The mosque of Ahmad al-Badawi. Tanta, Egypt.
The tomb of Ahmad al-Badawi. Tanta, Egypt.

From the gigantic October religious festival at Tanta, Egypt.
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From the gigantic October religious festival at Tanta

Cotton field of Tanta, Egypt.

City in northern Egypt with 450,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), along an irrigation canal between the Rosetta and Damietta branches of the Nile. It is the capital of the Gharbiya governorate with 4 million inhabitants (2006 estimate) and an area of 1,942 km².
Tanta is both an agricultural centre and an industrial city. Among its industries are petroleum refining, cotton ginning, cottonseed oil extracting, wool spinning, flour milling, tobacco products and processed food.
Tanta is well-connected to other urban centres of Egypt, with the CairoAlexandria superhighway passing next to it, and the main railway lines connecting Alexandria and Damietta to Cairo and the rest of Egypt.
Tanta has a university opened in 1972. There is also the Tanta Institute, originating with the Ahmadi college dating back to 1276.
Tanta's most famous site and event are linked to the tomb of Ahmad al-Badawi. He was a 13th century Sufi shaykh and founder of the Badawiyya order (tariqa), an offspring of the Rifa'i order. Every October a gigantic 8-day festival is staged here, attracting more then 2.5 million pilgrims. Tanta also hosts two other important annual Muslim festivals.
A Coptic Christian bishoprics was created here in 1895.

History
1276: Higher learning institution is established in Tanta.
1769: The higher learning institution of Tanta becomes an affiliate of al-Azhar University.
1836: Tanta becomes capital of the Gharbiya governorate.
1972: The University of Tanta is opened.




By Tore Kjeilen