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xTourism in Ihnasya City

Ihnasya (Ehnasia) or Herakleopolis is one of the cities of Beni Suef Governorate. Lying on Bahr- Youssef, it was the capital of the 21st Nome of Lower Egypt. In the ancient Egyptian texts, it was known as Hwl-nn-nsw (‘the House of the Royal Child’), then it acquired an Arabic name of ‘Ihnasya’. It was also known as Ihnas, Ihnas el-Medineh and Umm-Kiman, due to the many hills it contains. It was known in the Greek texts as Herakleopolis (‘the City of Heracles’), whom the Egyptians associated with the Egyptian deity of the city ‘Her’ or ‘Herishef’. Since multiple building and agricultural projects have been carried out in it over the times, the city lost many of its old features. Ihnasya was the capital of Egypt during the Ninth and Tenth Dynasties, in the wake of the struggle between the Herakleopolitans and the Thebans over the unification of the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt during the First Intermediate Period. As a consequence, the region suffered damage in ancient Egyptian eras and over the following times. Finally, the Thebans met with success and victory in this clash. Since the city has always enjoyed great importance, the Egyptian Kings attended to its development throughout the history of Ancient Egypt in general and in the Twenty-second Dynasty in particular. Ihnasya was of a great religious importance. According to the Egyptian mythology, the sun appeared, for the first time, in Ihnasya, on the day of the creation of heaven and earth. In that city, god Osiris was crowned. And after Osiris’ death, the very city witnessed his son being declared King of Egypt. According to the legend of the ‘Destruction of Mankind’, Ihnasya also witnessed goddess Sekhmet starting to destroy people yielding to Re’s orders. Based on these legends and myths, the site continued to enjoy a religious reputation, even after its political importance faded away. Constructing a temple for god Herishef, the deity of the city, the Ancient Egyptian Kings were interested in him. It is most likely that the oldest date known for that temple was in the Twelfth Dynasty, which implies that the temple of the Ninth and Tenth Dynasties was destroyed.

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