Tombs Of The Nobles
Qubbet El-Hawa Tombs
The sandy West Bank hills cover the Aswan riverscape, which features rock-cut tombs dedicated to high-ranking public officials from the Middle Kingdom and the Old Kingdom. The hillcrest features a tomb with a dome that is dedicated to a Muslim prophet. The dome is known as the “Dome of the Winds,” which was originally written as Qubbet el-Hawa.
To find the ticket office of the tomb, you have to go to the northern end. From there, you’ll have to walk up a lot of stone steps to get to the upper cemetery area. That is where visitors can access up to 7 different tombs. On the upper level’s southern end, the guide will begin showing visitors the most fascinating tombs to see there. These are ancient roughly cut tombs made of natural rock. Their preservation is not the greatest, but they are still fun to see.
People cannot usually access tombs from this time period that are located to the south of Cairo. Therefore, you are fortunate to see these tombs and the hieroglyphic texts inside of them. They depict the jobs of the owners and show scenes of what they did in their daily lives. Most of the tombs contain the family members of one another, which is why they’re connected together.
Tomb # 25 & 26 – Mekhu and Sabni
Mekhu and Sabni were father and son. Each one oversaw Upper Egypt for the ruler Pepy II during Dynasty VI. They each got their own tombs dedicated to them. The tomb of Mekhu features wall reliefs that show a record of his murder during a Nubian expedition. His son, Sabni, apparently killed his father out of revenge. A great ceremony was apparently held for Mekhu. The Old Kingdom style design was used for the tombs’ construction. The entrance doorway contains small obelisks and a Mekhu offering table.
Tomb # 31 – Sarenput II
The tomb of Sarenput II is another major tomb worth mentioning. It was constructed sometime during the rule of King Amenemhet II from Dynasty XII. Sarenput II was described as the Elephantine Garrison Commander and the Overseer of the Khnum Priests. The tomb is very well preserved. It contains a huge chamber that has six undecorated symmetrical pillars as well as a gallery with six niches. Each niche features a mummiform statue depicting the dead prince.
A second chamber had four pillars with decorations of Sarenput imagery. If you keep going, you’ll find a deep-cut rocky chapel that is plastered and contains vibrant, painted colours. It also depicts The Priestess of Hathor, who is Sarenput’s wife, as well as other family members too. The niche behind the chapel refers to Sarenput as the “Hereditary Lord.” It is a colourful biographical-themed text with hieroglyphs that depict him well. The hieroglyphs and paintings are like the tombs of the Old Kingdom. This has a small percentage of Egyptologists believing that the paintings were done by the same artists. They also believe there was a very short First Intermediate Period.
Tomb # 31 – Khunes
Khunes owned this tomb from Dynasty VI. He was a Chancellor and Lector Priest from this time period. If you go left from the entrance, you’ll come to a side chamber that was used as a Coptic cell. An upper-level chamber was used as a serdab. You’ll find scenes in this tomb depicting Khunes and his family performing their daily activities.
Tomb # 31 – Harkhuf
During the time when Pepy I, Pepy II, and Merenre ruled the land in Dynasty VI, Harkhuf had the title of “Overseer of Foreign Troops.” People know this tomb for its biographical text of Harkhuf and for the copy of a letter written by Pepy II. In the letter, Pepy II asked Harkhuf to bring a dancing pigmy to the King quickly after he returns from his African expedition.
Tomb # 35 – Pepynakht
Pepynakht was an Overseer of Foreign Troops as well. He existed during the time when Pepy II ruled in Dynasty VI. His tomb contained biographical texts, columns, and reliefs depicting scenes of bullfighting and hunting.
Tomb # 36 – Sarenput I
This was a popular tomb from Dynasty XII. Sarenput I was the Overseer of the Satis Priests and the Governor of Elephantine during the rule of Senwosret I. The rear walls of the columned court contain certain scenes of Sarenput I as he fished and hunted with his dogs. There is also a hall that has four columns, and it contains scenes of his everyday life and biographical text that is shown in beautifully painted hieroglyphs. In the back of the tomb, there is a chamber with a “false door.”
There are causeways from the various cemetery levels that go down the hillside. In the beginning, these were the normal paths that would take people to the coffins and tombs. It also meant that people had to drag burial goods from the river all the way up the steep inclining hills. The cemetery is completely floodlit at nighttime. No matter where you are in Aswan, you can see it. But as you go deeper into the hillside to access the tombs, it gets dark quickly. Tourists are not allowed to take photographs there.
Updated on May, 06 2020