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Beni Hassan

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Boasting tombs

Beni Hassan

Beni Hassan in itself is a modest little village, but in the limestone cliffs over it, 39 tombs from the Middle Kingdom are located. These tombs were built for feudal lords, and they come full with decorations in frescos. Events from their military and political life are spread out on these frescos, in between everyday scenes.
The necropolis has a regulated entrance, but is open most of the day. The tombs are normally organised with two square rooms in from the cliff wall, before ending in a small niche. The tombs vary in size, but lies on a row parallel to the Nile's eastern bank.

Beni Hassan

The Tomb of Amenemhet (no.2 from north)has a false door towards west, which is the direction through which the dead was believed to enter the underworld. On the walls are depictions of happenings from Amenemhet's life, but most scenes show what was expected for his afterlife.
The Tomb of Khnumhotep (no.3) has an abundance of paintings on the walls, where his power as a governor is depicted, especially from the now gone people of the Amus. In the niche, parts of an original statue of Khnumhotep is preserved.
The Tomb of Baqet is the oldest of the interesting tombs. This one offers its main attraction in paintings of wrestlers on the inner wall, but the sport has in many pictures been forgotten for other possibilities close bodily contact involves. Gazelles proves their vitality on the north wall.
With a tiny tomb in between them, the Tomb of Kheti, is dedicated to the son of Baqet. The wall paintings here are most interesting in the respect that they show everyday scenes from the Middle Kingdom, with harvests of wine grapes and papyrus, as well as pleasures of music and dancing.

Eat and Sleep
There is nothing of hotels and restaurants in Beni Hassan, these things are best done in Minya.

You take the taxi to Abu Qirqis, and then another out to the Nile, 3 km away. Crossing the Nile is done with regular ferries. Expect to do some walking as well.

Going Next
40 km northwest: Minya

By Tore Kjeilen