Location & Overview
Qena is a city in Upper Egypt, and the capital of the Qena Governorate. Situated on the east bank of the Nile, it was known as Kaine during the Greco-Roman period and as Cainepolis in antiquity.
This provincial capital is located about 57 miles from El Balyana and 39 miles north of Luxor. It is most famous for its proximity to the ruins of Dendara. It owes its modern prosperity to the opening of the Wadi Qena towards the Red Sea, which is a major traffic route between Upper Egypt and the Red Sea. Tourists traveling between Luxor and the Red Sea will assuredly pass through this city since there is only one good road connection. Qena is noted for its pottery, in particular the porous water.
In addition to its Ancient Egyptian heritage as the city of Cainepolis. Qena has a considerable Islamic heritage and a famous mosque. The Maghrebi Abd el-Rahim settled in Qena upon his return from Mecca and founded a Sufi center here. Upon his death in 1195, the mosque was built above his tomb and became a place of pilgrimage. There is a huge modern mosque of Sheikh el-Qenawi in the main square which attests to his importance.
Qena has a hot desert climate (BWh) according to Köppen climate classification, with very hot summers and very little precipitation year round. Winters are warm at days, but become cool at nights. The hottest months on average are equally July and August, while the coolest month is January. Luxor, Minya, Qena and Asyut have the widest difference of temperatures between days and nights of any city in Egypt, with almost 16 °C (29 °F) difference.
What to See in Qena
What are some of the sites you can see in Qena on guided tours? You won’t find much information on Qena in Luxor tours, besides that it is a city and Governorate known for its pottery. However, visiting the official website will give tourists some exciting promises.
The greater Qena Egypt area provides several ancient temples, including mosques of Islamic faith and some monasteries of Coptic Christianity. Some of the memorable mosques you can seen include the Sidi Abed Al Rahim Al Qenai Mosque, where there is still a celebration of his birthday going on in the first half of Shaban that lasts for 15 days. Another mosque of interest is the Al Omaari Mosque in Qous, with its unique internal structure.
There are also some Coptic monasteries to see in Qena Egypt including Mar Gerges, a monastery named after Saint Mar. Every year there is a Christian ceremony celebrating the birthday of the founding Saint. This monastery was believed to have been built in the fourth century. There are also Coptic monasteries you can see in Esna, such as the Monastery of all Shohadaa and the monastery of Al Faghori. There are also several Coptic monasteries in Naqada, including the monastery of Mar Boktor, the monastery of Saint Mar Korious, the monastery of Saint Basnetaious, the monastery of Anba Androas and the monastery of Al Mogmaa.
There is also some Pharaonic remains to be aware of, namely in Dandara’s Temple. This temple includes relics and paintings that document the start of the Pharaoh families all the way until the emergence of Christianity. Its construction evidently started in 116 B.C. and the work didn’t culminate until 150 years later, when it was decorated in the age of the Roman Empire. You can also see Asna’s Temple, built in Roman times as ceremonial place for the God Khnoum. Qeft’s Temple is devoted to the God of Qeft, a bizarre figure with human shape and carrying a whip, but with two feathers on his head.
Did someone say pottery? Yes, this is Qena’s most famous industry and you can find a great deal of pottery collectibles in the capital of Qena Egypt, in Qous (especially porcelain china) and Nakada.
While there are hotels in Qena Egypt (about three star quality, understand that it’s just a short drive back to Luxor that can easily be made in a day. This is a must see destination if you are planning on seeing Luxor and other surrounding areas.
The Temple of Dendera
The temple in located in Qena the capital of the province inhabited by Coptic and Muslims, POP 2,000,000. This town is very famous for manufacture of water pots, called in Arabic “gula” jars. The modern town of Qena was founded by the holy Muslim Shiek Abdel Raheeem El Kenawi who spent all of his life in this town and died in 1170 AD. The birthday of this saint is celebrated every year, and a great number of pilgrims come from all over Egypt for this celebration. The name of the city goes back to the time of the pharaohs, it was taken from the ancient Egyptian word Qeny, which means to bend. this name was chosen for the city because the Nile river is taking a curve shape in this spot The temple of Hathor at Dendera was built in the 1st c BC and It is one of the best preserved temples in all of Egypt. It was built by Ptolemy 8th and Queen Cleopatra 2nd and then later Roman Emperors continued to decorate it and honor of the goddess Hathor, the goddess of love, music and maternity. The goddess Hathor was identified by the Greeks with Aphrodite.
When visitors pass through the first gateway, built by Roman Emperor Domitian at 8OAD. This gate leads to the main building of the temple. The great hall of the temple is decorated with Hathoric columns, columns with the face of Hathor, This is found is very good state of preservation. The front upper edge of the cornice is decorated with the winged sun disc.
Khnum Temple Esna
The temple, which lies in a pit below the of the houses in Isna, is dedicated to the god. Khnum. This ram god that was worshipped through out this area and who fashioned mankind mud of the Nile on his potter’s wheel, He associated with other gods, including Menhyt sonsort), Nebtu (the goddess of the myside) and Hka (the manifestation of vital energy).
While all that remains of the temple is the Great Hbp tyle Hall, surrounding ruins of the ancient complex and city have yet to be excavated due to the modern housing built on the site. The temple sits atop the ruins of earlier temple(s).
Ptolemy VI originally began this building project, but in Temple of Khnum was a later addition built by e Roman emperor Claudius in the 1st century. The rectangular hall opens to the west. Thu ‘sot is still intact, supported by 24 columns decorated with a series of text recording hymns to Khn n and relating the annual sacred festivals of lsnd ,ith scenes illustrating the surrounding countryside. The sacred festivals are the creation of if universe by Neith, the raising of the sky and his victory over the human rebels, They texts were done between the Greco-Roman period and the rule of Decius in 250 AD, but never finished. There are 16 different palrmd plant capitals on the columns, still with some good color. Looking up, one might almost feel .s though he or she were gazing up in a fore – The columns also record other nearby temp, including one at Kern Mer 7 1/2 miles south of Isna which has been excavated. The West sll of the Temple of Khnum is all that remain of the original Ptolemaic temple and has relies of Ptolemy VI and Philometor and Euer gres II. In the forecourt of the temple are blocks from an early Christian church. Then also is an inscription found on the back of a block from Emperor Decius decreeing that Christians will suffer death if they do not sacrifice to the pagan gods.
To the extreme north near the gates is another Birth House. This one was built by Roman Emperor Trajan and his successors.