city of the dead ancient egypt

[3], While the "City of the Dead" is a designation frequently used in English, the Arabic name is "al-Qarafa" (Arabic: القرافة‎, romanized: al-Qarafa). RARE footage of an Ancient Egyptian 'funeral home' has been released by National Geographic. His tomb became one of the most important sites in the cemeteries even up to the present day, attracting many pilgrims and spurring development in the area at different periods.[1][7]. Archaeological research in and around this pyramid, conducted by the French in the 1980’s and 1990's has revealed several smaller pyramids that were used for the burial of Pepi I's many queens. In the immense historical necropolis of Cairo, the fences fail to hide the rubble of the destroyed mausoleums of the City of the Dead, a UNESCO world heritage site, to build the controversial road to Ferdaus, the “paradise”. It is believed by some that the oldest remains of Memphis are to be found underneath the modern-day village of Abusir, immediately to the east of the Archaic Tombs. [7] The most significant foundation here appears to have been the Zawiya of Shaykh Zayn al-Din Yusuf in 1299, which attracted pilgrims and formed the core of a new habitable district which later became the neighbourhood of al-Qadiriya. As such, it is one of the largest and most important areas of the Memphite necropolis. To the south, Saqqara borders on Dashur, which some Egyptologists consider only to have been an extension of Saqqara. Their purpose, as historian Margaret Bunson explains, \"was to instruct the deceased on how to overcome the dang… North of the historic city is also the Bab al-Nasr Cemetery, named after the northern city gate, which covers a much smaller area than the other two. More than two millennia ago, 27 Egyptians were laid to rest in Saqqara, an ancient city of the dead. [16] Nonetheless, as mentioned above these districts also cover dense urban areas outside the necropolis, meaning that the number of people living inside the cemeteries themselves is likely much lower. [1], The Mamluk sultans (1250 to 1517) were prolific builders, but most of the sultans and Mamluk elites preferred to be buried in monumental mausoleums attached to mosques and madrassas built in the city rather than in the Qarafa. A three hour drive through dangerous and winding roads, the site sits on the slope of a hill overlooking the Fiagdon River. It is a vast area of tombs stretching from the foot of the Cairo Citadel in the north to the densely-inhabited modern district of al-Basatin to the south. The early Muslim city was divided into multiple khittat or plots of land that were allocated to different tribes, and each tribe in turn built their own cemetery and funerary district - often including a mosque - in the desert area to the east of the city. [1][15] That being said, for those living in "unofficial" or improvised housing in the tombs the situation is generally worse. Salah ad-Din also built the first Sunni madrasa in Egypt here, based on the Shafi'i madhhab, in order to counter the long-running missionary efforts of the Shi'a Fatimids (whom he had deposed). [21][1], Regardless of their actual living conditions in the cemetery zones, the residents do live in a socially and politically precarious position. [4][1]:123, 297–298 In any case, however, these terms would be used in various ways later on. Many historians believe that the scale and nature of the constructions point to deliberate efforts at urbanizing the area, rather than simply using it as another necropolis. [1][3] Official attitudes have varied from modest measures to improve living conditions to bold proposals to forcibly move the inhabitants, but no overarching plan has been put into effect so far. [17] ("Al-Khalifa" is also the name of the wider administrative district or qism in the Cairo Governorate which contains the Southern Cemetery today. When a tomb was constructed, depending upon one's wealth and status, an offerings chapel was also built so that the soul could receive food and drink offerings on a daily basis. The family of Muhammad Ali himself were buried in a lavish mausoleum known as the Hosh el-Pasha, built around 1854 near the Mausoleum of Imam al-Shafi'i. However, starting in the late 19th century and increasing in the 20th century, the pressure of Cairo's intensive urbanization and its ensuing housing shortage led to a large increase in the number of people living in the necropolis zones. [1] East of Kobri Al Ebageah is the slum settlement of Manshiyet Nasr rising into the Mokattam hills. Archaeological research in and around this pyramid, conducted by the French in the 1980’s and 1990's has revealed several smaller pyramids that were used for the burial of Pepi I's many queens. Some of the most celebrated examples of Mamluk architecture are found in this district, particularly from the Burji period. [1]:123 The land became abandoned and disused following a famine in the 11th century and was probably then used as a burial ground, which led to the name Qarafa being used to denote Cairo's urban cemeteries in general. [7] Perhaps following this example, many elites, royal officials, and members of the bourgeoisie began to once again build ornate mausoleums and funerary compounds in the Qarafa cemeteries. [7] His mausoleum is also a monument of major architectural and historic importance in itself: it is the largest freestanding mausoleum in Egypt and its current structure was founded by the Ayyubid sultan al-Kamil in 1211 (with many subsequent modifications and restorations). [3][1] In fact, the majority of the residents live in regular urban housing and neighborhoods which, through various historical circumstances, developed inside the cemetery zones. City of the Dead in Cairo, Egypt. [14], The phenomenon of "tomb-dwellers" (people squatting in tombs because of displacement or lack of housing in the city) probably peaked in the 1980s, when they are estimated to have been around 6,000 in number. The development of the necropolis thus moved northeast, mirroring these new centers of power. [1] During the plague years in the 15th century, the authorities at one point officially banned people from living in the Qarafa, which left many structures unguarded and vulnerable to looting. Al-Shafi'i was an extremely important Islamic scholar who founded the Shafi'i madhhab (a school of Islamic jurisprudence) which is predominant in many parts of the Muslim world. [1] Only a relatively modest number of Mamluk funerary monuments were built here, although they were of high architectural quality and some remain today. These lands were not normally suitable for habitation but their dry desert soil promoted the natural desiccation of bodies, thus preserving them for longer and ensuring a more hygienic interment of bodies overall. [1] Even of those living among the actual tombs, at least half of them in the 1980s (when the tomb-dwelling population appears to have peaked) were workers, along with their families, whose livelihoods were directly linked to the tombs themselves, such as morticians, gravediggers, masons, and private tomb guardians. It is located within the Al-Gamaliyya qism (district) of the Cairo Governorate. The oddly shaped tomb of Shepseskaf at Saqqara. [1] This period marked the height of Cairo's wealth and power, and in turn probably marked the high point of the Qarafa in terms of prestige and splendor. Set in a remote area of the vast Sahara, Hamunaptra held such high importance that none but the Medjai and the High Priest of Osiris could ever know its location. The tradition of building domed mausoleums only evolved from the Fatimid period onward. [5] Only a small number of them left any monument attesting to their time in Egypt, and only six such monuments were in the Qarafa. By the end of Abbasid rule in Egypt in the 10th century, the necropolis is reported to have covered an enormous area stretching several kilometers from the southern edge of al-Qata'i (close to the Mosque of Ibn Tulun and the later Citadel of Salah ad-Din) to the former lake of Birkat al-Habash (just south of the modern Ring Road today in the Basatin district). [1] A number of other Fatimid-era mausoleums survive today in the area between the Mosques of Ibn Tulun and of Sayyida Nafisa, such as the Mausoleum of Sayyida Ruqayya. [1][6] Further south, Imam al-Shafi'i, a Sunni religious scholar of major importance and founder of the Shafi'i madhhab, was buried in the middle of the cemetery in the early 9th century on the site of the early Quraysh cemetery. Storia della necropoli musulmana del Cairo. This can be explained by the fact that during the larger part of the 4th Dynasty, Giza was the main burial place and by the fact that there appear to have been fewer high officials during this 4th Dynasty. The areas around the unfinished pyramid of Sekhemkhet and the so-called Great Enclosure have not yet been fully explored. The City of the Dead consists of a long belt of cemeteries and mausoleums stretching for roughly 4 miles along the eastern edge of the historic city. [1] (The construction of the Salah Salem highway, however, also implicated the destruction of some of the cemeteries along the edge of the Northern Cemetery. The main road leading past it, Shari'a al-Khalifa, is historically the southern continuation of the qasaba avenue (which at its northern end is known as al-Mu'izz street) and was the main north–south road of Cairo for centuries, starting at Bab al-Futuh and leading all the way into the Qarafa. Tombs from the same family are often grouped together and enclosed in a walled structure or courtyard known as a hawsh or hosh (Arabic: حوش‎; which also has a generic architectural meaning). Archaeologists Unearth More Than 800 Tombs At Ancient Egyptian City Of The Dead. , at some distance to the northwest of Shepseskaf’s tomb; and the small pyramid of Ibi, to the Northeast. [1], The necropolis that makes up "the City of the Dead" has been developed over many centuries and contains both the graves of Cairo's common population as well as the elaborate mausoleums of many of its historical rulers and elites. (Page of tag city of the dead) [1], The Qarafa received new attention under the Ayyubid dynasty (established by Salah ad-Din after the Fatimid Caliphate was abolished in 1171), who repaired some monuments and aqueducts and re-initiated urbanization in parts of the cemeteries (despite also destroying Fatimid monuments). [1] These did not supplant the Great Palaces (located on the site of Bayn al-Qasrayn today), but served as leisurely retreats from the city and as places to stay while visiting the tombs of Muhammad's descendants. 1-888-834-1448. But the ancient Egyptian ‘city of the Dead’ is called the ‘Valley of the kings and Queens.’ The name Hamunaptra can’t be found in Egypt, but there was once a city in India that had that name, so that part is fiction. [5] However, governors were typically appointed for a few years before being recalled because the sultans were afraid of them accumulating power. A densely-inhabited urban neighborhood exists east of the Imam al-Shafi'i complex and is generally known by the same name, while another urban bloc, al-Qadiriya, exists directly south of the Sayyida Aisha Mosque and the former gate of Bab al-Qarafa. [2], The northern part of the necropolis, north of the Salah Salem road, is known as the al-Khalifa neighbourhood. [1] These new establishments, like the old Mamluk ones, included various services which required the constant presence of workers and, by extension, the provision of housing for them. Some of their projects appear to have been designed to urbanize the area, and an estimated population of 4,000 may have already lived here by the mid-15th century. Unlike the Great Pyramids of Giza, the ones you see here are smaller but older than the former. [1], Under the long reign of Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad (1293-1341), Cairo's prosperity led to increased use of the Qarafa necropolis and to its revitalization, with the "Smaller Qarafa" of Ayyubid times (around the Mausoleum of Imam al-Shafi'i) now re-merging with the "Greater Qarafa". [1], The Fatimid Caliphs themselves and their family members were buried in their own mausoleum (called Turbat az-Za'faran)[1][7] on the site of what is now Khan al-Khalili, inside the city and adjacent to the Fatimid Great Palaces. Al-Qarafa, known as the 'City of the Dead,' is a four-mile-long cemetery from the northern to the southern part of Cairo, Egypt's capital. The two would later merge again as development spread to other areas. It is possible that during Pepi's time, Memphis, which probably had started out along the East-side of the edge of the Northern plateau of Saqqara, had grown to have its centre located almost directly to the East of Pepi's pyramid. She was an immigrant to Fustat and acquired a strong reputation for baraka before her death in 824 CE, and her tomb is still highly important and popular today. The beginnings of Cairo's necropolis date back to the foundation and subsequent growth of the city of Fustat, founded in 642 CE by 'Amr ibn al-'As, the Arab Muslim commander who led the conquest of Egypt. They extend to the north and to the south of the Cairo Citadel, below the Mokattam Hills and outside the historic city walls, covering an area roughly 4 miles long. , both of the 6th Dynasty. Such was the importance or fame of Pepi I's funerary complex, that its name. The cemeteries are registered as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Historic Cairo and contain numerous historic mausoleums and religious sites from a wide range of periods. [1][21] This may be exaggerated to some extent, as there is no clear evidence that poverty or crime are greater problems overall here than in other working-class districts of Cairo – although drug-trafficking was indeed documented at one point. [1] The inhabitants of the cemeteries are socially heterogeneous and live in different communities across the area, which has probably inhibited them from forming a united front in dealing with the authorities.[1]. [16], The Bab-al Nasr cemetery is much smaller in size than the other necropolises and lies directly north of the historic city walls, sandwiched between the al-Husayniya neighborhood (historically a northern suburb of Cairo) and what is now the northern part of the al-Darrasa neighborhood (which separates it from the Northern Cemetery). There is also another smaller cemetery north of Bab al-Nasr. [1] Just as elsewhere in Cairo, this involved the construction of unofficial housing without government approval in areas where people could find space to build - or where they were able to demolish or incorporate older structures. Its first tombs, dated to the beginning of the 1st Dynasty, were built on the ridge of the desert plateau, probably immediately to the west of the new capital of Memphis. Mountain looming over Dargavs: The City of the Dead ( Wikimedia Commons ) The first mention o… [1], Recently, living conditions have slowly improved with greater access to running water and electricity, while the denser neighborhoods are serviced by facilities like a medical center, schools, and a post office. Some people resorted to squatting within the mausoleums and tomb enclosures and turning them into improvised housing; however, these "tomb-dwellers" remained a small fraction of the overall population in the area. It started with the early city of Fustat (founded in 642 CE) and arguably reached its apogee, in terms of prestige and monumentality, during the Mamluk era (13th-15th centuries). [2], The necropolis is separated roughly into two regions: the Northern Cemetery to the north of the Citadel (also called the Eastern Cemetery or Qarafat ash-sharq in Arabic because it is east of the old city walls), and the older Southern Cemetery to the south of the Citadel. [1][7], The development and construction around Imam al-Shafi'i's mausoleum led to this area becoming a miniature district of its own, known as al-Qarafat al-Sughra (the "Smaller Qarafa") within the larger necropolis still known as al-Qarafat al-Kubra (the "Greater Qarafa"), which was perhaps relatively dilapidated by then. [3], Today, the neighborhoods are similar in quality to other working-class Cairo neighborhoods and have limited but relatively decent infrastructure, including water, electricity, schools, a post office, and other facilities. Wooden coffins on display during the unveiling of an ancient treasure trove of more than 100 intact coffins at the Saqqara necropolis 30km south of the Egyptian capital Cairo, on November 14, 2020. [2], Today, most of the Northern Cemetery is located within the Manshiyat Naser qism (district) of the Cairo Governorate. West of Shari'a Salah Salem is the al-Darrasa neighborhood and Al-Azhar Park, along the edge of the old city walls. The French, citing hygiene reasons, banned all burials inside the city, and cemeteries within the city walls were eventually destroyed and the remains of their occupants moved, leaving only the Qarafa (which was outside the city walls) as Cairo's major burial ground. Digs in Egypt's City of the Dead have unearthed a hoard of ancient artefacts, including amulets, canopic vases and 16 tombs containing approximately … One impetus for this was the presence of the tombs of a number of descendants of Muhammad and of 'Ali buried here earlier. In 1907, the neighbourhood of Imam al-Shafi'i was connected to the rest of Cairo by a streetcar line which stretched from here to the Pyramids in Giza (though it no longer exists today). A number of other historical mosques and monuments are in the area, including the Mausoleum and Zawiya of Shaykh Zayn al-Din Yusuf (dating from 1298-1299), on al-Qadiriya street, whose presence was probably an early catalyst for settlement in that area. The uniquely shaped tomb of Shepseskaf is paralleled only by the tomb of Queen Khentkaus I at Giza, approximately dated to the same period. 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