Qus (derived from Ancient Egyptian Gesa or Gesy) is a city in the modern Qena Governorate, Egypt, located on the east bank of the Nile. Its modern name is one of many borrowings in Egyptian Arabic from Coptic, the last living phase of Ancient Egyptian. In Graeco-Roman times, it was called Apollonopolis Parva or Apollinopolis Mikra or Apollonos minoris.
During the Roman Empire it was renamed Diocletianopolis; and it corresponds, probably, to the Maximianopolis of the later Empire.
Gesa was an important city in the early part of Egyptian history. Because at that time it served as the point of departure for expeditions to the Red Sea. The city gradually lost its importance, only to regain it in the 13th century with the opening of an alternate commercial route to the Red Sea. Since then, Qus replaced Qift as the primary commercial center for trading with Africa, India, and Arabia. It thus became the second most important Islamic city in medieval Egypt, after Cairo.
Today, Qus is the site of a major American/German commercial project to convert the waste products of sugar cane refining (bagasse) into paper products. The temple of Haroeris (Horus) and Heqet as famous site in Qus, was built during the Ptolemaic Period. Nowadays, only two ruined pylons of the temple remain.
The pylon shows scenes of Ptolemy X Alexander I harpooning hippopotami, presenting offerings to Horus, and offering crowns to both Horus and Heqet. The texts also include the cartouches of Ptolemy IX Soter II (called Lathyros) and his mother Cleopatra III. Near this site a green basalt naos was discovered. It was dedicated to Horus by Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The naos is presumed to have come from the temple as well.
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All goods from India and Saudi Arabia that passed through Qus on their way to Mediterranean markets until 1498 when Vasco de Gama discovered an alternative sea-route around Africa. Al Amri Mosque was founded in 1083 and many sultans and pashas added to its splendor over the centuries. The mosque has an open enclosure plan featuring arcades of columns surrounding a large opening in the roof to fill the building with light and air. Surprisingly, the cacophony from the street seems to stay outside the walls. The original builders reused columns and capitals from some unknown Roman monument built by some distinguished official in a town that commanded an important position in the transfer of granite and marble to the imperial courts in Rome and Byzantium. Under the arcade, or riwaq, Moslems gather to hear the imam's sermon and to pray.The riwaq and the qibla wall are the only surviving elements of the original Fatimid mosque. The arched mihrab indicates for Moslems the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca so that they can orient themselves correctly for their daily prayers. The mihrab's interior is decorated with magnificently intricate stucco work that dates to the Mamluk period (1250–1517). The Quranic inscription that frames the arabesque design in the centre is written in Thuluth script. This style of calligraphy was revolutionary in the eleventh century because it replaced the straight block letters of Kufic script. Thuluth's letters flow in a cursive style because one third of each letter is curved.The imam reads the weekly sermon from a stepped platform, called a minbar. Al Azmi's minbar is of intricately carved wood and is one of the oldest in Egypt. The Fatimid vizier al-Salih al-Tala'i presented this magnificent podium to the mosque in 1155 when he governed Qus. He later went on to build his famous mosque in Cairo. The Quranic inscription that graces the lintel over the platform's entrance is written in the block-like Kufic script. The seemingly incongruous microphone at the top of the stairs shows that the minbar remains integral to the mosque's current use. Every inch of the minbar's teak exterior is intricately carved in complex geometric and vegetal patterns. Islam's prohibition of idolatry forbids the creation of images of God, the Prophet Mohamed and other living beings, giving rise to amazing non-figural art to decorate their houses of worship. source : http://traveltuesdays.blogspot.com.eg/
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