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Ancient Christians Necropolis of El-Bagawat, El-Kharga Oasis

Ancient Christians Necropolis of El-Bagawat, El-Kharga Oasis, it is the oldest tomb of Copts in Egypt, dating back from the second century AD until the seventh century AD, Where there are 263 Christian cemeteries.

Ancient Christians Necropolis of El-Bagawat, El-Kharga Oasis
Ancient Christians Necropolis of El-Bagawat, El-Kharga Oasis

Necropolis of El Bagawat design

Its tombs were designed in the form of circular chambers, inside each room, a large pit was found.

Ancient Christians Necropolis of El-Bagawat, El-Kharga Oasis

  • This pit contains several tunnels, leading to the mummy,  which were placed inside it thousands of years ago.

These archaeology “cemeteries” are the best evidence of the beginning of the Christian era, in which the Copts of Egypt fled with their religion to the desert;  Fearing Roman persecution of Christianity.

El Bagawat Location

  • It is located 3 km north Kharga Oasis  in the New Valley, behind Temple of Hibis
  • It dating back to the second century AD, the first to reach that area and take it as a place of worship is the chief priests "Athanasius Tawadros".

El Bagawat meaning

“Bagawat” is a word that you will only hear in the New Valley, in which the residents of the governorate described it,

  • The name is Bagawat is an Arabic name which means “the vaults”, the plural of vaulting, which is the form on which the cemetery tombs were built, where it is topped by domes, built of mud bricks, and dates back to the early Christian era.

The most important archaeological elements of the Begwat are chapel of peace, chapel of the Exodus and the church.

Chapel of Peace 

  • Chapel of Peace was called by this name because of the symbol of peace, depicted in the dome of the chapel.

  •  It is one of the most famous chapels to art students, and European researchers call it the “Byzantine cemetery.”

Chapel of exodus

The brightly colored drawings in it  depicted some stories quoted from the Old Testament book, such as

Moses's exodus
  • Its images embody the story of Moses's exodus and Israel's people from Egypt, and the pursuit of Pharaoh and his soldiers to them.
Adam and Eva

Adam and his wife Eve, are expelled from Paradise, they were represented without clothes, used their hands wipe their tears, while the other hand to hide their nakedness

the story of the Prophet Noah, the story of the redemption of the Prophet Ismail, Yunus in the belly of the whale, and other religious stories.

  • The dry climate of the New Valley helped the "Bajwat" cemetery to retain its colors throughout these centuries.

Bagawat Basilica

  • It is the second oldest church in the world, it dates back to the fifth century AD.

Forty Days Road (Darb al-Arba'in)

In the past, caravans of pilgrims and merchants used El Bagawat  as a rest stop during their 380-kilometre journey along the Darb al-Arba'in road, leaving drawings and ornaments on the walls of these tombs, documenting their journeys along the long road.

Dates of Necropolis of El Bagawat 

  • It opens from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the summer

Necropolis of El Bagawat Entrance fee

  • Its ticket price Egyptian 10 LE • Egyptian student 5 LE • Foreign 50 LE • Foreign student 25 LE.


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Asmaa Ahmed

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