Antinoupolis today

After my last post about Antinoupolis in Egypt in the Napoleonic period, I find that Google Maps can give us interesting pictures of the modern site, a village named Sheikh Ibada / Abada / Ebada (etc).

I also learn from this site that the revolution in Egypt has been a disaster for the site, where the locals have been bulldozing the Hippodrome and other sites.  James B. Heidel, president of the Antinoupolis Foundation writes:

“Each year vast new swathes of ancient cemetery, parts of the ancient city wall, and in the last two years even half of the ancient hipprodrome, have been bulldozed flat, raked with a front loader and marked out with white blocks for new cemetery plots,” Heidel says.

“Two years ago fully half the hippodrome was leveled, and in spite of our protests to the Ministry of Antiquities, no protections were put in place,” he says.

“This year a further, smaller area of it was bulldozed flat, and the construction of walls for tomb plots were completed which were the year before only marked out with pebbles,” he adds.

Those wishing to locate the site will find that the name is given as El-Shaikh Ebada, 10km north of Mallawi in Menia governorate, which is here on Google Maps.


The satellite view of the ancient city area is as follows, with the Hippodrome clearly visible!  The dark area is the ancient city:


Zooming in, I get this:


This shows the damage to the Hippodrome clearly, and the encroachment of the fields of modern tombs.

In fact the blog post linked above gives the following picture of the damage, recorded by the Italian excavation team.


Few of us perhaps would ever visit Antinoupolis.  But somehow we are all impoverished by this useless, needless destruction.

UPDATE: I found this small satellite image, from a site dated 2008.  At that time, the left hand side of the Hippodrome was complete.  Apparently “building cemeteries” is a standard ploy for those wishing to dig without permission in Egypt.

2008 Roman circus of Antinoupolis.
2008 Roman circus of Antinoupolis.

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