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Faiyum (Arabic: الفيوم; Coptic: 'Ⲫⲓⲟⲙ) is a city in Middle Egypt and the capital of the Faiyum Governorate. It is located 130 km southwest of Cairo and occupies part of the ancient site of Crocodilopolis. Its name in English is also spelled as Fayum, Fayoum, Al Fayyum or El Faiyūm. Faiyum was previously officially named Madīnet el Faiyūm (Arabic for The City of Faiyum). The name Faiyum (and its spelling variations) may also refer to the Faiyum Oasis, although it is commonly used by Egyptians today to refer to the city.
The modern name of the city comes from Coptic 'Ⲫⲓⲟⲙ /Ⲡⲉⲓⲟⲙ efiom/peiom (whence the proper name Ⲡⲁⲓⲟⲙ payoum), meaning the Sea or the Lake, which in turn comes from late Egyptian pA y-m of the same meaning, a reference to the nearby Lake Moeris.
Faiyum has several large bazaars, mosques, baths and a much-frequented weekly market. The canal called Bahr Yussef runs through the city, its banks lined with houses. There are two bridges over the river: one of three arches, which carries the main street and bazaar, and one of two arches, over which is built the Qaitbay mosque, that was a gift from his wife to honor the Mamluk Sultan in Fayoum. Mounds north of the city mark the site of Arsinoe, known to the ancient Greeks as Crocodilopolis, where in ancient times the sacred crocodile kept in Lake Moeris was worshipped.
The Center of the City is on the Canal, with the four waterwheels, that are adopted by the governorate of Fayoum as its national Symbol, their Chariots and Bazaars are easy to spot.
Faiyum mummy portraits
Portrait of a man, ca. 125-150 AD.. Encaustic
on wood; 37 x 20 cm
Faiyum is the source of some famous death masks or mummy portraits painted during the Roman occupation of the area. The Egyptians continued their practice of burying their dead, despite the Roman preference for cremation. While under the control of the Roman Empire, Egyptian death masks were painted on wood in a pigmented wax technique called encaustic—the Faiyum mummy portraits represent this technique.While commonly believed to represent Greek settlers in Egypt, the Faiyum portraits instead reflect the complex synthesis of the predominant Egyptian culture and that of the elite Greek minority in the city.
- Qasr Qarun, located 44 km from the city
- Qaitbay Mosque, located in the city, and was built by the wife of the Mamluk Sultan Qaitaby
- Hanging Mosque, built under the Ottoman Rule over Egypt
- Lehin Pyramids, located 4 km outside the city
- Hawara, archeological site located 27 km from the city
- Wadi Rayan, the largest waterfalls in Egypt, located around 50 km from the city
Tefta Tashko-Koço, well known Albanian singer was born in Faiyum, where her family lived at that time.
Coordinates: 29°18′N 30°50′E / 29.3°N 30.833°E