Meaning of SAWHAJ in English

also spelled Sohag, or Suhag, town and capital of Sawhaj muhafazah (governorate) in the Nile River valley of Upper Egypt. The town is located on the Nile's western bank between Asyut and Jirja, immediately across from Akhmim on the eastern bank. It has cotton-ginning, textile-weaving, and food-processing factories. Automobile parts are distributed, and it is a centre for vehicle repair. The Sawhaj Institute is an affiliate of al-Azhar University, Cairo. Sawhaj lies along the Cairo-Aswan railway and the main highway through Upper Egypt. A bridge across the Nile links it to Akhmim. In recent years the two cities have virtually merged, although they are still separately administered. Pop. (1986 prelim.) 132,965. muhafazah (governorate) in Upper Egypt, south of Asyut and north of Qina governorates. It is a ribbonlike stretch of the fertile Nile River valley about 60 miles (100 km) long, with an area of 597 square miles (1,547 square km). Through it the Nile flows in a roughly 13-mile- (21-kilometre-) wide flat-bottomed valley hemmed in by limestone cliffs rising to nearly 1,000 feet (305 m). Throughout the area the Nile has cut a channel close to the eastern side of the valley; nearly all of the arable land lies west of the river. Sawhaj governorate's habitable area is one of the most densely populated in Egypt. About three-fourths of the employed population are farmers. The principal crops are cotton, millet, wheat, sugarcane, onions, peanuts (groundnuts), and melons. Local provincial industries include silk weaving at Akhmim. Perennially irrigated land is watered from as-Sawhajiyah Canal, fed from the Naj' Hammadi barrage to the south. At Mount al-Haridi and al-'Isawiyah Sharq east of Akhmim, there are limestone quarries. Two notable sites of antiquity are Abydos, with monuments of Old, Middle, and New Kingdom Egypt; and Bayt Khallaf, near Sawhaj town, the site of a mastaba (mud-brick tomb) probably of King Djoser (3rd dynasty; c. 2650c. 2575 BC). Nearby is the Coptic White Convent with a late 5th-century basilica church surrounded by a wall of white calcite incorporating many reused pharaonic stones. The Red Convent, also with a basilica church, is located 4 miles (6.5 km) to the northwest. Both of these centres of early and medieval Coptic learning have been restored. Apart from Sawhaj (q.v.), the capital of the muhafazah, principal towns are Akhmim, Jirja, and Tahta. Jirja has a sugar refinery, which was enlarged in the early 1980s. Pop. (1986 prelim.) 2,455,134.

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