Egypt is known for its ancient Necropolises. The Great Pyramids are part of the ancient Giza necropolis and there are other pyramid necropolises at Saqqara and Dahshur. Then there's the Valley of the Kings with many tombs of long-dead Pharaohs. In Cairo, there's the City of the Dead - a more modern necropolis. But there are more, and one that is truly eye-catching and well off the tourist trail is called Zawiyyet Al Mayyiteen (Place of the Dead).

Zawiyyet Al Mayyiteen is a fascinating place to see and read about, but it is not regarded as a destination for tourists in Egypt as it is a working cemetery. The gateway to the necropolis is the major city of El Minya halfway from Cairo to Luxor. Stop there and see the middle part of Egypt and the many attractions in the area that most people forget about.


What To Know About Zawiyyet Al Mayyiteen

The Zawiyyet Al Mayyiteen (City or Place of the Dead) is a large Muslim and Coptic Christian cemetery south of Cairo. It is made up of hundreds of mud-brick mausoleums - many of which have beehive roofs. It is said to be one of the largest cemeteries in the world.

  • Largest: Zawiyyet Al Mayyiteen is Said to Be One of the Largest Cemeteries In the World
  • Used: by Muslims and Christians alike
  • Length: Four Kilometers (2.5 Miles) North-South Along The Nile
  • Width: 300 Meters (Yards) Up The Hillside

Zawiyyet Al Mayyiteen is a necropolis (or City of the Dead) in the truest sense of the word. It is a massive necropolis. Here visitors will see innumerable white conical domes stretching out across the plain running up to a cliff face.

One feature that makes the necropolis so remarkable is that each of the hundreds of mausolea are topped with a dome. While most are not nearly as ancient as one expects to find in Egypt, there are at least some rock-cut tombs from the Old Kingdom of Egypt as well as a small step pyramid dating from the 3rd dynasty.

  • Unique Pyramid: The Small Pyramid Here Is the Only Pyramid Found On the Eastern Back of The Nile

Related: Prior To Being Separated, The Great Pyramids Looked Like This

Visiting Zawiyyet Al Mayyiteen

Zawiyyet Al Mayyiteen is well off the tourist drag in Egypt, and it is not promoted as a tourist destination. Prospective visitors should keep in mind that it is a working cemetery and visitors ought to be modestly dressed and respectful.

There are also plenty of local Egyptians visiting the complex to remember and pay respects to their deceased relatives. They go to have a picnic in the tomb and hang out for the day.

  • How To Get There: Uber is One Way Or Train From Cairo to Minya and Then A Taxi From there
  • Tip: Consider Hiring A Local Guide

If one could like to go there, then be astute, this is not a regular tourist destination. One should consider getting a local guide to show one around and not break any of the local norms. A local guide would also inform one if and when taking photos is appropriate.

Related: 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Great Pyramid Of Giza

El Minya - the Gateway

El Minya is the nearby city with a population of over 4 million people. It is called the 'Bride of Upper Egypt' as it is more or less at the border of Upper and Lower Egypt. It is about halfway between Cairo and Luxor.

  • Location: 153 Miles South Of Cairo
  • Population: 4 Million

There is a range of rich archeological sites to explore in the surrounding El Minya governorate.

A Few Archeological Sites To See around El Minya:

  • Tell El Amarna: The Remains Of An Ancient Egyptian Capital City
  • Beni Hassan: An Ancient Egyptian Necropolis (Old and Middle Kingdom Periods)
  • The Monastery of the Virgin Mary: Built In The 4th Century AD
  • El Bahnassa
  • Zawiyyet al-Mayyiteen: aka Place of the Dead
  • El-Umra Mosque
  • El Ashmunein: A Well Preserved Greek Agora
  • Roman waterwheel: With a 37-meter deep well

El Minya has great hotels for tourists and some boats ideal for picnics. When traveling from Cairo to Luxor, take the time to explore what's in the middle that most people are too much in a rush to stop and see. Egypt is a land of endless wonders where pyramids are still being discovered and archeologists are still debating how the pyramids were built.