Upper Egypt
Overview
 
Upper Egypt is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

, that extends from the cataract
Cataracts of the Nile
The cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths of the Nile between Aswan and Khartoum where the surface of the water is broken by many small boulders and stones protruding out of the river bed, as well as many rocky islets. Aswan is also the Southern boundary of Upper Egypt...

 boundaries of modern-day Aswan
Aswan
Aswan , formerly spelled Assuan, is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate.It stands on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract and is a busy market and tourist centre...

 north to the area between El-Ayait and Zawyet Dahshur (which is south of modern-day Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

). The northern section of Upper Egypt, between El-Ayait and Sohag is sometimes known as Middle Egypt
Middle Egypt
Middle Egypt is the section of land between Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, stretching upstream from Asyut in the south to Memphis in the north. At the time, Ancient Egypt was divided into Lower and Upper Egypt, though Middle Egypt was technically a subdivision of Upper Egypt. It was not until the...

. The designation Upper Egypt is most frequently used as a division for Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. Modern inhabitants of Upper Egypt are known as Sa'idi
Sa'idi
- Etymology :The word literally means "from Sa'id" , and can also refer to a form of music originating there, or to the dialect spoken by Sa'idis. The word Sa'id in Arabic means "level", "plain", "surface", and can also have the added sense of "ascending"...

s; they generally speak Sa'idi Arabic
Sa'idi Arabic
Sa`idi Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken by Sa'idis south of Cairo, Egypt to the border of Sudan. It shares linguistic features both with Egyptian Arabic, as well as Sudanese Arabic. Dialects include Middle and Upper Egyptian Arabic...

.
Upper Egypt was known as Ta Shemau which means "the land of reeds." It was divided into twenty-two districts called nome
Nome (Egypt)
A nome was a subnational administrative division of ancient Egypt. Today's use of the Greek nome rather than the Egyptian term sepat came about during the Ptolemaic period. Fascinated with Egypt, Greeks created many historical records about the country...

s.
Encyclopedia
Upper Egypt is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

, that extends from the cataract
Cataracts of the Nile
The cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths of the Nile between Aswan and Khartoum where the surface of the water is broken by many small boulders and stones protruding out of the river bed, as well as many rocky islets. Aswan is also the Southern boundary of Upper Egypt...

 boundaries of modern-day Aswan
Aswan
Aswan , formerly spelled Assuan, is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate.It stands on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract and is a busy market and tourist centre...

 north to the area between El-Ayait and Zawyet Dahshur (which is south of modern-day Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

). The northern section of Upper Egypt, between El-Ayait and Sohag is sometimes known as Middle Egypt
Middle Egypt
Middle Egypt is the section of land between Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, stretching upstream from Asyut in the south to Memphis in the north. At the time, Ancient Egypt was divided into Lower and Upper Egypt, though Middle Egypt was technically a subdivision of Upper Egypt. It was not until the...

. The designation Upper Egypt is most frequently used as a division for Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. Modern inhabitants of Upper Egypt are known as Sa'idi
Sa'idi
- Etymology :The word literally means "from Sa'id" , and can also refer to a form of music originating there, or to the dialect spoken by Sa'idis. The word Sa'id in Arabic means "level", "plain", "surface", and can also have the added sense of "ascending"...

s; they generally speak Sa'idi Arabic
Sa'idi Arabic
Sa`idi Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken by Sa'idis south of Cairo, Egypt to the border of Sudan. It shares linguistic features both with Egyptian Arabic, as well as Sudanese Arabic. Dialects include Middle and Upper Egyptian Arabic...

.
Upper Egypt was known as Ta Shemau which means "the land of reeds." It was divided into twenty-two districts called nome
Nome (Egypt)
A nome was a subnational administrative division of ancient Egypt. Today's use of the Greek nome rather than the Egyptian term sepat came about during the Ptolemaic period. Fascinated with Egypt, Greeks created many historical records about the country...

s. The first nome was roughly where modern Aswan
Aswan
Aswan , formerly spelled Assuan, is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate.It stands on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract and is a busy market and tourist centre...

 is and the twenty-second was at modern Atfih
Atfih
Atfih is a city in Middle Egypt. It was part of the now defunct Helwan Governorate from April 2008 to April 2011, after which it was reincorporated into the Cairo Governorate. As of 2001, it has a population of 106,300 inhabitants.-Etymology:...

 (Aphroditopolis
Atfih
Atfih is a city in Middle Egypt. It was part of the now defunct Helwan Governorate from April 2008 to April 2011, after which it was reincorporated into the Cairo Governorate. As of 2001, it has a population of 106,300 inhabitants.-Etymology:...

), just to the south of Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

.

History

The main city of predynastic Upper Egypt was Nekhen
Nekhen
Nekhen was the religious and political capital of Upper Egypt at the end of the Predynastic period...

 (Greek: Hierakonpolis), whose patron deity was the vulture goddess Nekhbet
Nekhbet
In Egyptian mythology, Nekhbet was an early predynastic local goddess who was the patron of the city of Nekheb, her name meaning of Nekheb...

. For most of pharaonic Egypt's history, Thebes
Thebes, Egypt
Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

 was the administrative center of Upper Egypt. After its devastation by the Assyrians, its importance declined. Under the Ptolemies, Ptolemais Hermiou
Ptolemais Hermiou
Ptolemais Hermiou was a city in Greco-Roman Egypt, established on the west bank of the Nile by Ptolemy I Soter to be the capital of Upper Egypt. Today, the city of Al Manshah in the Sohag Governorate is located where the ancient city used to be....

 took over the role of Upper Egypt's capital city. Upper Egypt was represented by the tall White Crown Hedjet
Hedjet
Hedjet is the formal name for the White Crown of pharaonic Upper Egypt. The crown was white and, after the unification of Egypt, it was combined with the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, with the delta to form the Pschent, the Double Crown of Egypt...

, and its symbols were the flowering lotus and the sedge.

In the 11th century, large numbers of pastoralists
Pastoralism
Pastoralism or pastoral farming is the branch of agriculture concerned with the raising of livestock. It is animal husbandry: the care, tending and use of animals such as camels, goats, cattle, yaks, llamas, and sheep. It may have a mobile aspect, moving the herds in search of fresh pasture and...

, known as Hilalians, fled Upper Egypt and moved westward into Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 and as far as Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

. It is believed that degraded grazing conditions in Upper Egypt associated with the beginning of the Medieval Warm Period
Medieval Warm Period
The Medieval Warm Period , Medieval Climate Optimum, or Medieval Climatic Anomaly was a time of warm climate in the North Atlantic region, that may also have been related to other climate events around the world during that time, including in China, New Zealand, and other countries lasting from...

, were the root cause of the migration.

In 20th century Egypt, the title Prince of the Sa'id
Prince of the Sa'id
Prince of the Sa'id was the title used by the heir apparent to the Egyptian throne prior to the abolition of the monarchy following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. The title translates as Prince of Upper Egypt....

(meaning Prince of Upper Egypt) was used by the heir apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

 to the Egyptian throne. Although the Egyptian monarchy was abolished in 1953, the title continues to be used by Muhammad Ali, Prince of Said
Muhammad Ali, Prince of Said
Prince Muhammad Ali, Prince of the Sa'id is the heir apparent to the currently abolished thrones of Egypt and Sudan.He was born in Cairo the grandson of king Farouk and Queen Nariman, and the elder son of Fuad II and his former wife, Fadila...

 and Hereditary Chief, Sheikh Beja Khawr al`allaqi, Prince of Sa'id.

See also

  • Lower Egypt
    Lower Egypt
    Lower Egypt is the northern-most section of Egypt. It refers to the fertile Nile Delta region, which stretches from the area between El-Aiyat and Zawyet Dahshur, south of modern-day Cairo, and the Mediterranean Sea....

  • Middle Egypt
    Middle Egypt
    Middle Egypt is the section of land between Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, stretching upstream from Asyut in the south to Memphis in the north. At the time, Ancient Egypt was divided into Lower and Upper Egypt, though Middle Egypt was technically a subdivision of Upper Egypt. It was not until the...

  • Upper and Lower Egypt
    Upper and Lower Egypt
    Ancient Egypt was divided into two regions, namely Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. To the north was Lower Egypt where the Nile stretched out with its several branches to form the Nile Delta. To the south was Upper Egypt, stretching to Syene. The two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were united c....

  • Nomes of Egypt
    Nome (Egypt)
    A nome was a subnational administrative division of ancient Egypt. Today's use of the Greek nome rather than the Egyptian term sepat came about during the Ptolemaic period. Fascinated with Egypt, Greeks created many historical records about the country...

  • Geography of Egypt
    Geography of Egypt
    The Geography of Egypt relates to two regions: Southwest Asia and North Africa.Egypt has coastlines on both the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The country borders Libya to the west, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east, and Sudan to the south...

  • Ancient Egypt
    Ancient Egypt
    Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

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