Esna

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Description

Esna is located about 33 miles south of Luxor. It is located on the west bank of the River Nile. The town was formerly part of the modern Qena Governorate, but as of 9/12/2009, has been incorporated into the new Luxor Governorate. There is About 4 miles southwest of town is the Deir Manaos Wa al-Shuhada (Monastery of the Three Thousand Six Hundred Martyrs), who's 10th century church is said to be one of the most beautiful in Upper Egypt. Perhaps this monastery is a lasting commemorative to Emperor Decius (249-51 AD) who degreed that all Christians would suffer death if they did not sacrifice to the pagan gods. His cartouche was the last to be carved on the walls of the Temple of Khnum in Esna. But the main attraction is the Temple of Khnum, which lies beneath the level of the houses in a pit. This was not the first temple here, for during the reign of Thutmose III, a temple was built here that preceded it. There are blocks from an early Christian church in the forecourt of the temple, foretelling of a time when Esna was an important Christian center.

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