kharga oasis

New Valley Governorate (محافظة الوادي الجديد‎‎, Muḥāfẓet El Wādī El Ǧedīd) is located in the Western Desert, part of the Sahara – between the Nile, northern Sudan, and southeastern Libya. Consisting of roughly 1/3 of Egypt’s land area, it’s the country’s largest governorate and one of the biggest in Africa. The capital is at Kharga Oasis.

El Bagawat is an ancient Christian cemetery, one of the oldest in the world, which functioned at Kharga Oasis in southern Egypt from the 3rd-7th century AD. It’s one of the earliest, best preserved Christian cemeteries from the ancient world. Before Christianity was introduced into Egypt, it was already a burial ground. The chapels here are said to belong to both eras. Coptic frescoes of the 3rd-7th century are found on the walls. They’re made of mud bricks and have etchings of biblical stories, saints, and “personifications of virtues”. There are paintings showing Noah’s ark in form of an “Egyptian barque”. Also notable are carved representations of Old Testament scriptures, incl. Adam and Eve, Daniel in the lion’s den, the sacrifice of Abraham, and Jonah swallowed by a fish.