Book Your Holiday Online 24/7 or call one of our travel team Monday to Sunday 9am to 8.00pm
Sohag is a city on the west bank of the Nile River in Upper Egypt. Also known as Sawhaj, the city is some 72 miles from Assyut and the Nile River as well. Across the Nile from Sohag is the ancient city of Akhmim, a city with a large Coptic population known for weaving carpets and tapestries. Akhmim has several ancient tombs and chapels, and a number of Coptic monasteries and churches. This town also has its fair share of factories that specialise in cotton weaving and textiles. For those who are interested in shopping for souvenirs there is a popular bazaar not too far away.
Sohag is also home to two famous monasteries: the Red Monastery (Deir El-Ahmar) and the White Monastery (Deir El-Abyed).
The city is one of the prime Coptic Christian areas of Upper Egypt. Sohag is undergoing major improvements to take advantage of the tourist population's interest in the monasteries and the historic excavations in nearby Akhmim. In Sohag, the police presence is strong. You'll be escorted by tourist police everywhere you go, and you may be barred from leaving your hotel at night. For this reason, many people choose to visit Sohag mostly as a day trip from Luxor.
Elsewhere there is the Sohag Museum which is the home to the Meret Amun statue. The Meret Amun statue is around 11 metres high and is the namesake of Ramesess daughter. Rameses wife was Amenhotep and she was the priestess of The Temple of Min. The industrial part of Sohag can be found in Modern Girga. Among some of the industries here include sugar and pottery. There are also two places of worship in Girga.
There is an old Roman Catholic monastery and El-Sini mosque is also situated there. There really isnt too much to see in Sohag at the present time but times are definitely changing for the city. In order to attract even more visitors to the town there are quite a few building projects that are underway in the city.
These new projects are expected to make Sohag a more convenient and hospitable place for visitors. In the meantime you can enjoy some of the nearby attractions in neighbouring cities. While there isnt too much that one can see or do in Sohag, there are definitely a few other cities nearby that would be of interest. One such city is Abydos which is near Sohag. Abydos is a holiday makers haven with its huge and tastefully designed dynasties from the Predynastic era It is also the home to quite a few temples as well.
The best thing to do in Sohag is to visit the monasteries. The Red Monastery, Deir El-Ahmar, is named after Coptic Saint Bishai, who lived a corrupt life but repented later. The original construction dates back to the fourth century. It is called "the Red Monastery" because of the colour of the bricks used in construction. As part of the monastery, you'll find several churches, and the main church has numerous frescoes and ancient artifacts. The St. Bishai chapel dates from the fourth century and is currently being restored. Much of the chapel is hidden behind scaffolding, but frescoes in the right hand nave are visible.
The White Monastery, Deir El-Abyed was built by Saint Shenouda in the year 441. It was built from Pharaonic temples and is located 12 km north of Sohag. At its peak it housed 2,000 monks. There are many churches as part of the monastery, and like the Red Monastery, the White Monastery takes its name from the colour of the building, made from white limestone. This monastery is sometimes called the monastery of St. Shenouda, and at one time it housed the biggest library in Egypt. Today, the manuscripts are scattered, and the monastery is home to about two dozen monks. The nave and apses are still intact, and 19 columns moved from an earlier structure separate the side chapels from the nave.
About 45 km south of Sahog are the ruins of the Temples of Abydos, with one of the oldest burial grounds in Egypt. From the third millennium B.C., Abydos was the burial place of kings and high court officials. Burial rituals for dead kings were held here as were ceremonies for the king's successor. It was also a center for the Osiris cult, believed to be a gateway to another world. Osiris became the god of the dead and ruler of the underworld according to legend. Abydos also has remains of other dynastic complexes and the remains of a ruined pyramid.
The town Akhmin, across the Nile from Sohag is on top of the ruins of the ancient town of Ipu, which is built over an even older settlement. The town was dedicated to Min, a fertility god comparable to Pan, of the Greeks, who called the town Panopolis. Since ancient times, Akhmin was famous for its textiles, and textiles are still made there. Across from the post office is a small weaving factory that you can visit to see weavers at work and buy handmade cotton and silk textiles directly.
In and around Sohag, there are many amazing and ancient historical sites that are well worth the journey to see.