Al Bagawat Christian Necropolis
New Valley Governorate
The Western Desert
February 27, 2020
I have the good fortune and the time to visit and explore the Al Bagawat Necropolis.
Al Bagawat / Al Bajawat / El Bagawat Necropolis *
The ancient necropolis of Al Bagawat (midway between Kharga and Dakhla) is one of the oldest Christian cemeteries in the world containing 360 Coptic tombs and dating from between the 4th-7th Centuries CE.
Early Christians supported the Fifth Century Bishop Nestorius who fled Roman persecution to settle in the Western Desert in Bagawat. (The Romans ruled in Egypt from 30 BCE to 640 CE.)
The Chapel of Peace was a family tomb dating from the Fifth Century. Scenes from the Bible are painted around its dome. Depictions of Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, Abraham, and St. Paul are a few of the recognizable scenes.
The Chapel of Exodus is believed to be the oldest in the complex. The chapel contains primitive paintings from the Hebrew Bible, Christian scenes, and Copy crosses: Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, Abraham and Sarah, Moses leading the people out of bondage with Egyptian soldiers in pursuit, Jonah and the Whale.
I have numbered the captions of all the paintings. From your own knowledge of Biblical history and from the lettering above the scenes, can you identify the Biblical figures?
*Sheila’s Guide to Egypt Desert Travel. Sheila Simkin. ICGtesting. USA pg.33.