My visit to the Fatimid Cemetery in Aswan, Egypt. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio

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Dear Shaded Viewers,

While I was in Aswan, in Upper Egypt, in February, I visited the old Fatimid Cemetery, which is walking distance from where I stayed, the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan Hotel. Some of the mud-brick domed tombs in the cemetery date back as far as the 9th Century. The caretaker of the cemetery showed me around the vast area.

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The tomb of an important imam is decorated with hsbd-irty, or artificial lapis lazuli, which is considered humanity’s first synthetic pigment. It was developed in ancient Egypt during the Fourth Dynasty, c.2575-2467 B.C., when it used to decorate the tombs of the Pharaohs.

When the caretaker showed me this blue-dusted tomb, I was stuck with the shock of déjà vu. I then realized I had visited this site in a dream I had a few years ago.

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The horn-like details on some of the tombs are unique to southern Egypt.

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A tomb of a local saint. They weren’t here today, but one can sometimes seem Aswani circumambulating such tombs, praying for the saint’s intercession.

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Thanks for reading.

Salam,

Glenn Belverio

Glenn Belverio

Glenn Belverio is a writer and New Yorker. He has been reporting for ASVOF since 2005 and currently works at The Museum of Modern Art as the Content Manager for MoMA Design Store.

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