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January 16, 2012

This great photo was published in Modern sons of the Pharaohs by S. H. Leeder (Hodder and Stoughton, 1918; plate between pp. 336-337) under the title “The Great Coptic Centre in Egypt – Assiout”. And with the comments: “Here the wealthy Christian families have built themselves palaces and made gardens by the river side. The domes of the Coptic Cathedral and the minarets of the Mosques may be seen in the distance”.

The photo is by P. Dittrich (1880–1918) who was the first German photographer to establish himself in Egypt and become the photographer to the Court of Egypt.

Asyut (or Assiout, as in Leeder’s book) is Syowt in Coptic, Lycopolis in Greek. It was in 1918 and remains an important Coptic centre with a large Coptic population, between 25-50%. Its overall inhabitants are estimated at 400,000.

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