Meaning of ASYUT in English

also spelled Asiut, or Assiout muhafazah (governorate) of Upper Egypt. It lies along the Nile River, between Al-Minya governorate to the north and Sawhaj governorate to the south. Its settled area, which is limited to the river valley, extends almost 100 miles (160 km) along the river and is about 12 miles (19 km) wide. The governorate extends into the Western Desert, with Al-Wadi al-Jadid governorate on its western boundary. Asyut's history dates to the Badarian prehistoric period, named for the site of Al-Badari, where the remains of that predynastic cultural phase were first excavated. The region was a battleground between the 10th and 11th dynasties in the First Intermediate Period (c. 21301939 BC). Egypt's southern frontier lay at Cusae in Asyut during the Second Intermediate Period (c. 16301540 BC). Akhenaton (reigned 135336 BC) moved his residence to the site of Tell al-Amarna, on the eastern bank of the Nile 50 miles (80 km) downriver from Syut (modern Asyut city). Agriculture is the main activity of the governorate; cotton, grains, vegetables, and lentils are the major crops, and chickens are raised. There are no major towns outside the governorate's capital, Asyut (q.v.). The Al-Ibrahimiyah Canal, branching off the Nile just north of Asyut city, flows in an old river channel on the western side of the valley and irrigates the agricultural land. Copts constitute a considerable part of the population of the governorate. Area 600 square miles (1,553 square km). Pop. (1995 est.) 2,843,000. also spelled Asiut, or Assiout, capital of Asyut muhafazah (governorate) and one of the largest settlements of Upper Egypt. It lies on the west bank of the Nile River, almost midway between Cairo and Aswan. The irrigated Nile River valley is about 12 miles (20 km) wide at this point. Known as Syut in ancient Egypt, the city was a centre of worship of the jackal-headed god Wepwawet. In the Middle Kingdom (1938c. 1600? BC), it was capital of the 17th nome (province) of Upper Egypt. While never able to challenge the power of Thebes, it was commercially prominent as a terminus of caravan routes traversing the Eastern and Western deserts. In Hellenistic times it was known as Lycopolis (Wolf City), an allusion to the worship of the jackal-headed god. It was the birthplace of the Neoplatonist philosopher Plotinus (c. AD 205269/270). Asyut's quality textiles and the fine fruits and grain grown nearby were exported southward to Darfur and elsewhere in the Sudan. Returning caravans brought slaves, ivory, and dyestuffs. Asyut is one of the few remaining places where silver appliqu-work shawls are still made. It also still turns out fine pottery, inlaid woodwork, and rugs. In addition, there are modern textile mills and a chemical plant producing fertilizer. Just north of the city and its river port of Al-Hamra' is the Asyut Dam across the Nile (1902), an open limestone weir 2,730 feet (832 m) long. It feeds the Al-Ibrahimiyah Canal, which parallels the Nile for about 200 miles (320 km) to the north, irrigating much of Middle Egypt. A westward branch, the Yusuf Canal, extends from Dayrut to the oasis of Al-Fayyum. In the 1980s the dam was improved, and a hydroelectric plant was added. Centres of higher education at Asyut include a university (opened 1957) and a teacher-training college. An important Coptic centre, the see of Asyut is administered from Cairo by a metropolitan. The limestone hills rising southwest of the city have numerous rock tombs of the 12th dynasty (19381756 BC). Pop. (1992 est.) 321,000.

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