Minya, the ‘Bride of Upper Egypt’ (Arousa As Sa’id), sits on the boundary between Upper and Lower Egypt. A provincial capital, its broad tree-lined streets, wide corniche and some great, if shabby, early-20th-century buildings make this one of the most pleasant town centres in Upper Egypt.
Once the hub of the Upper Egyptian cotton trade, its factories now process sugar, soap and perfume. The downturn in the local economy helped fuel an Islamist insurgency in the 1990s, which the government sent tanks and armoured personnel carriers to suppress. They did this again in 2013 to quell pro–Muslim Brotherhood protests. More recently, security was tightened in May 2017 following an attack on Coptic visitors to a monastery outside Minya in which 28 people died. In spite of the tension, Minya remains a good place to visit and its city centre retains the air of a more graceful era.