El Bagawat Cemetery

Hundreds of mud-brick tombs of early Christians sit atop an earlier Egyptian necropolis, El Bagawat is one of the oldest best preserved Christian cemetery of the ancient world

Kharga, Egypt

Coordinates: 25.485388, 30.554970

El Bagawat, is an ancient Christian cemetery, one of the oldest in the world, which functioned at the Kharga Oasis in southern-central Egypt from the 3rd to the 7th century AD.

It is one of the earliest and best preserved Christian cemeteries from the ancient world.

There are paintings in the cemetery which show the ark of Noah in the form of an “Egyptian barque”. Also notable are carved representations of Old Testament scriptures, including Adam and Eve, Daniel in the lion’s den, the sacrifice of Abraham, and Jonah swallowed by a fish.

The El Bagawat cemetery is reported to be pre-historic and is one of the oldest Christian cemeteries in Egypt.

Before Christianity was introduced into Egypt, it was a burial ground used by the non-Christians and later years by the Christians. The chapels here are said to belong to both the eras.

Coptic frescoes of the 3rd to the 7th century are found on the walls. There are 263 funerary chapels of which the Chapel of Exodus and Chapel of Peace have frescoes.