The City of Esna
Esna is one of the cities located inside the Governorate of Luxor in Southern Egypt. Located 55 kilometers to the South of Luxor and around 150 kilometers to the North of Aswan, Esna has a history that dates back to the prehistoric periods in Egypt.
Esna was called Tasni in ancient Pharaonic times. This word means the passageway as Esna was an important transit point for commercial caravans traveling from the deserts to reach the Nile Valley. It was called Seni and then the Arabs when they entered Egypt in the 7th century AD called it Esna.
Even until today, Esna is considered an important commercial center for the villages and small towns around it. There are various markets in Esna that sell almost everything. There is for example the Al Qaysareya Market that was established in the 19th century. This covered market is located near the Temple of Khnum, the most magnificent historical sites of Esna and Egypt in general. The Qaysaerya Market sells all types and kinds of cloth.
The touristic market of Esna sells all sorts of souvenirs. Another wonderful place for shopping would be the covered Street of Swiqa that sells cloth, clothes, outfits, spices, food, and accessories. Historians like Ibn Batoota mentioned the markets of Esna in their books and historical records.
Away from the marvelous Temple of Khnum in Esna, the city hosts some other remarkable monuments. There is Al Gabalein or the two mountains. This area was the borderline between the third and the fourth provinces of ancient Egypt. Some ruins of a temple that was constructed during the ruling period of the 3rd dynasty is located in this area. This is in addition to many ancient tombs.
There is also an ancient burial site that dates back to the first intermediate period of the ancient Egyptian history. Located around 15 kilometers to the North of Esna, the area hosts two impressive tombs of the local governors of Esna during the first intermediate period. The tombs represents a record of the events that took place in the region during this section of the Egyptian history.
Significant features of the city of Esna also include the Nile barrages. The first was constructed by the British during the ruling period of Khedive Abass Helmy II. The objective was to reserve the water of the River Nile and benefit from it in agriculture. This is considered one of the beautifully built barrages in the world.
The Egyptian government built the new barrage in 2008. Passing through this new barrage is among the marvelous experiences passengers going for Nile cruises from Luxor to Aswan and vice versa, pass through. This is when the water of the River Nile is elevated to transfer the ships from the lower levels of water to the higher ones.