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8th January 2012
The New Hermopolis eco-village in Upper Egypt aims to encourage responsible tourism in a region off the beaten track...
The majority of tourists visiting Egypt tend to find themselves guided towards resorts and mass-visits to a carefully chosen selection of archaeological sites, resulting in a tightly controlled tourist experience. Such agendas typically avoid certain regions in Upper and Middle Egypt despite their wealth of archaeological sites, flora and fauna, until now.
Local and community-driven initiatives are cropping up across the country in an effort to encourage responsible tourism, and The New Hermopolis eco-village is a prime example of this.
Located 340km south of Cairo and less than 3km from the antiquities of Tuna al-Gebel in the Minya Governorate, the eco-village is constructed of limestone and consists of 16 rooms with capacity for 52 visitors. The development follows ecological principles for water and energy preservation, in addition to generating its heat from solar panels.
Whereas mass tourism can often fuel environmental and archaeological degradation, developments such as The New Hermopolis eco-village aims to promote responsible tourism through ecological principles, as well as providing employment opportunities.
Founder of The New Hermopolis Mervat Nasser told the Egypt Independent she hopes the project will inspire the rediscovery of the intellectual innovation and cultural dialogue that once flourished in the area, and will serve as a catalyst towards long-term sustainable development.
Nassar said: “The nearby city of Hermopolis is considered the seat of creation in mythology. Archaeologically, the city has a number of monuments and is currently on the list of Egyptian ancient sites, though hardly visited.”
Upper Egypt is a strip of land on both sides of the Nile valley, which extends between Nubia and downriver to Lower Egypt. The northern downriver part of Upper Egypt, between Sohag and El-Ayait, is also known as Middle Egypt.
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