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Faras (Sudan)

The ancient town of Faras is located on the border between modern Egypt and Sudan. It has been submerged under Lake Nasser since 1964. Faras was founded during the Middle Kingdom (2040-1750 BC), during which time a small fortress was built. A series of small temples were built in the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC). One of these was dedicated to Hathor of Ibschek, which may be the ancient name of the town.

Faras rose to prominence during the Meroitic period (about 300 BC-AD 350), when it was known as Paharas. The discovery of a palace, settlement and royal burials indicate that this may have been a provincial capital from the first century BC to the first century AD. It has also been suggested that Faras later became capital of the Napatan kingdom.

Faras became an important Christian site from the seventh century AD, when a bishopric was established there, and a cathedral built, as well as at least six other churches, a monastery, and pottery workshops. These and other remains indicate that Faras was one of the largest settlements in Nubia at this time. In the later Medieval period, the importance of Faras declined as it was eclipsed by Qasr Ibrim, which was perhaps favoured in these troubled times due to its defended hilltop position.

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