Beni Hasan is an exceptional historical and archaeological site located in Middle Egypt, approximately 20 miles south of Al Minya. The site, believed to have been occupied from the late Middle Kingdom to the 13th Dynasty of the Second Intermediate period, holds the remains of a cemetery and tombs of local governors. It comprises 39 rock-cut tombs with wall decorations that provide insight into the lives of the locals of the time, revealing their polytheistic religion, daily activities, and social norms. The decorations in the tombs are so well-preserved and of such high quality that they have been compared to the “Egyptian Sistine Chapel” by art historians.
Beni Hasan’s rock-cut tombs are attributed to the 11th, 12th, and 13th Dynasties of the Middle Kingdom and feature a variety of filled-in rock-cut features and underground tombs. The tombs showcase the gods and goddesses of the Egyptian pantheon and daily scenes that the governors practiced in their polytheistic religion. Additionally, the site also boasts a large courtyard and a mostly destroyed limestone temple.
The site was first documented by British Egyptologist James Quibell in 1843 and later excavated by a French team starting in 1898. The UNESCO designated Beni Hasan as a World Heritage Site, and it stands as a testament to the ancient civilization of Egypt, giving visitors a glimpse into the lives and culture of the people who lived there over 3,000 years ago.