Fodor's Expert Review Tuna al-Gebel

Tuna al-Gebel Ruins

Tuna al-Gebel was the necropolis of Hermopolis—a large and scattered site, its focal point being a cluster of Greco-Roman tombs. These tombs, built literally as houses for the dead, show an entertaining blending of Classical and Egyptian styles of art. The Tomb of Petosiris is one of the best preserved and is open to the public.

The mummy of Isadora, a woman drowned in the Nile in the second century AD, is on display in a nearby building; be sure to tip the guard. The other major attraction of the site is the elaborate catacombs containing burials of ibis and baboons, animals sacred to the god Thoth. These date to the late Persian and Greco-Roman periods, and you can see some animal burials in situ. An embalming workshop is also visible at the entrance. Approaching the site, you can see on the right side, cut into the cliffs, the best surviving stela (now protected by glass) erected by Akhenaton; this one was to mark the western boundary of his capital, Akhetaten.


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