Qubbet el-Hawa

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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The Qubbet el-Hawa is an ancient Egyptian necropolis, today an important archaeological site, where the tombs of the officials line the artificial terraces below the summit. Situated on the western bank of the Nile, opposite Aswan, the necropolis features ancient Egyptian tombs tombs from the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom.

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The Qubbet el-Hawa necropolis is located in West-Aswan, south of the Nubian village of Gharb Aswan. What looks like a huge sand dune covering a massive formation of Nubian Sandstone is home to one of the most densely occupied cemeteries of ancient Egypt, dating from c. 2500 BCE to Roman Times.

Qubbet el-Hawa Shrine


The Qubbet al-Hawa shrine (Dome of the Wind) is a small domed funerary-shrine atop the ancient Egyptian necropolis of Southern Nobles. Archaeologically, the term is also usually understood as referring to the site of the tombs of the officials lining the artificial terraces below the summit of the Nile bank upon which the Islamic tomb stands.

Tombs of the Nobles

circa 1950 BCE

The Tombs of the Nobles necropolis is known for its elite ancient Egyptian cemetery which consists of rock-cut tombs that date back to many successive periods. The tomb owners were high officials who were responsible for royal expeditions to the south. Their tombs are characterized by the autobiographical inscriptions which narrate the journeys to Africa. Some of the burials are very finely decorated and introduce fascinating details of the lives of these nomarchs.

Roman Fortifications

circa 400 CE

As the cemetery was in use since the Old Kingdom era till Roman times, several administrative or defensive structures, were constructed here during the Roman period.

Coptic Monastery

circa 550 CE

The Coptic Monastery of Saint Simeon (Deir Amba Samaan) is considered to be notably typical of early Christian Monasteries, and was one of the largest Coptic Monasteries in Egypt. This site has never been systematically excavated, but religious functions where centered in the lower part of the site, while living quarters and working areas were in the upper.

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