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The Necropolis By Day

In the extreme South of Egypt lies the bustling port of Aswan. This town which has always played a key part in Egyptian history was, in dynastic times, the southern seat of power in the empire and many of the great expeditions of antiquity departed from there. Today Aswan is still a major cornerstone of Egypt's prosperity as it is the site of the High Dam. This major feat of engineering provides most Egypt's electricity and also regulates the flow of the Nile and permitting new land to be irrigated.

Aswan's historical importance rose as it is located beside the Nile in an area known as the 'First Cataract', an area of rocky shallows where navigation is difficult. This meant that whoever controlled Aswan controlled access to Egypt from the South.

The Rulers of the district, or Nome, of which Aswan was the capital built for themselves a Necropolis of rock cut tombs on the high cliffs on the West bank of the Nile. Today these provide a much more 'genuine' look at the way these tombs were than the heavily touristed Valley of the Kings. Only in this small Necropolis is it possible to visit tombs where the debris of thousands of years still lies scattered around infrequently visited burial chambers.

The Necropolis By Night

 
 One of the most impressive tomb entrances in the Necropolis belongs to the tomb of Heqa-ib, a noble from the 6th dynasty about whom little is known, apart from the fact he was the governor of Elephantine.
  Another impressive tomb facade is at the entrance to the tomb of Sirenpowet I, who was a prince during the reign of Amenemhet II. Although most of the external part of the tomb is now lost, the remains of six fine pillars still stands in the small courtyard in front of the tomb.  
   Although much of the stonework in the Necropolis has survived in good condition, the artwork in the tombs has not fared so well. This image is from the tomb of Heqa-ib and shows a fairly common theme in the Necropolis art, that of hunting and fishing.