Ancient Egypt Wiki
Ancient Egyptian: Nekhen
Location Kom el-Ahmar
Coordinates 25°5′50″N 32°46′46″E
Region Upper Egypt
Nome Nekhen
Main deities Horus (Nekheni)
Monuments Temple of Horus

Hierakonpolis (Greek: Ἱεράκων πόλις), or Nekhen in Egyptian (transliteration: nḫn), modern Kom el-Ahmar, is an Ancient Egyptian city on the west bank of the Nile, located in Upper Egypt. It functioned as the provincial capital of Nekhen, the third Nome of Upper Egypt. During the New Kingdom it lost this function to its neighboring city, Eileithyiaspolis.[1]

The city's main deity was Nekheni ("The One of Nekhen"), a falcon with two long feathers on his head, who was already equated very early on with Horus.[1] Hence, the Greek name of the city Hierakonpolis ("City of the Falcon").[1]

In the Ancient Egyptian mythology Hierakonpolis served an important role together with Eileithyiaspolis (Egyptian: Nekheb), on the opposite side of the Nile, as a counterpart to Buto (Egyptian: Per-Wadjet) in the Nile Delta.[1]


Pre-Dynastic Period[]

The Pharaoh entitled King B may have ruled from this city.[2]

Early Dynastic Period[]

We know that the site was in use from the First Dynasty from the numerous finds of Narmer and other kings. However the most significant find would most likely be the Main Deposit a series of votive objects discovered in 1899 by James Edward Quibell and his team which produced the famous Narmer Palette, Narmer Macehead and Scorpion Macehead.[2] The wavy walled enclosure depicted on the Narmer Macehead may have recently been discovered at the site.[2][3]


The necropolis of Hierakonpolis lies in the hills to the south-west of the city. It includes Pan-grave cemeteries, which suggest that Nubian mercenaries, probably called the Medjay by the Egyptians, were brought in to defend the country during the troubled times of the Second Intermediate Period.

List of tombs
Designation Owner Title(s) Period
T1 Hormose High Priest of Horus 20th Dynasty, Ramesses XI
T7 Hormeni Mayor of Hierakonpolis 18th Dynasty, Thutmose I
T8 Djehuty Overseer of the Stonemasonry New Kingdom
- Itjefy (usurped by Niankh-Pepi) Usurper: Nomarch of Nekhen, Overseer of the Priests Old Kingdom (original), Middle Kingdom (usurper)
- Horemkhauf Overseer of the Priests, Overseer of the Fields Second Intermediate Period


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Baines & Malek 1980, p. 78.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Wilkinson 2001.
  3. Tyldesley 2006.


  • Baines, J./Malek, J., 1980: Atlas of Ancient Egypt. Equinox (Oxford), Ltd.
  • Tyldesley, J., 2006: The Complete Queens of Egypt. American University Press, Cairo.
  • Wilkinson, T.A.H., 2001: Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge, London.