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"It's pronounced Suhaj" this is probably the first thing you will be told by the locals of the city as they proudly put a stress on the J giving the name a rougher feel; a characteristic of Upper Egypt, but also called the "Pretty Maiden of the Nile" by originally Egyptian diva singer Dalida in her famous song. Sohag has special charm that cannot be missed. When exploring Upper Egypt, it is an interesting stopover point with its mixture of Pharonic and Coptic presence from the past, however with less touristic pressure compared to its more popular counterparts Luxor and Aswan. It is a nice retreat for a day or two for travelers visiting other cities around it.

See & Do

You can start off with a visit to the antiquated White and Red Monasteries, a literal translation of their Arabic names Al Dear Al Abyad and Al Dear Al Ahmar. The White Monastery that take the form of a basilica, gets its names from reusing white limestone bricks from Pharonic temples. The Red Monastery also gets its name from red bricks used for establishing the outer walls and has a beautiful display of well-maintained paintings.

Moving back to the Pharonic era, a major hotspot is The Abydos temples complex located in the Village of Balyana. The most impressive site is the Temple of Seti which still retains details of carvings and the original stunning colors on its walls, brightening up the temple every day.

For your final destination, take a tour in the little town of Akhmim, found on the other side of the Nile River from Sohag city. It rests on the remains of an ancient Town called Ipu. From the various artifacts remaining the one that literally stands out is the statue of Meret Amun. This is a huge statue of an ancient Egyptian Queen found in an open air excavation pit and is a definite must see.

Some take home goodies: You cannot leave Akhmim without checking out its famous textile production. Located across the Meret statue, there is a small weaving factory that you can visit and where you can buy beautiful hand woven silk and cotton tablecloths, bed linens and clothing garments like shawls.

Weather and safety tips: Unless in winter, most visits should be started early morning to avoid the day heat as much as possible. There are several police checkpoints in and around the city and you may be escorted to several sites by a police force for security considerations. Just keep your ID or passport with you all the time.

Where to stay: The most recommended hotel is Al Safa hotel, a good place for an evening bite. The newer Al-Nile hotel is also a good second option.

Getting around: You can rent a taxi to get in and around the city. To get to other major nearby cities you can take the train.

Need to Know

  • Time Zone: UTC+2. Daylight saving time is UTC+3 starts in April, ends in September.
  • Currency: Egyptian Pound equivalent to 100 piasters.
  • Dialing Code: 093 from inside Egypt. Add country code +2 to call from outside Egypt.
  • Driving: Driving is on the right side of the road.
  • Official Language: Arabic. English is also spoken.

Sohag International Airport - HMB

Sohag Airport is a relatively new one, opened in 2010. It has only one terminal with two international halls. It currently operates flights to and from domestic destinations and a few Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Libya and Jordan). You can take a taxi from the airport to the city center which will take up to 30 minutes.

  • Food and beverage: Some restaurants/food bars can be found in the terminal.
  • Currency Exchange: ATMs available can be used to get cash in local currency.
  • Lost Luggage: A baggage claim facility is available for lost luggage. For follow up, airport phone number is +20-93-2372005.
  • Car hire: There is a car rental service available, however there are no international car rental companies offering their services here.
  • Airport Hub: Sohag International (Code HMB) is EgyptAir and AirCairo hub.
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