The capital of the 9th Upper Egyptian nome (Eg. ipw or xnt mnw, Gr. Panopolis or Chemmis) once lay close to this place on the eastern bank of the Nile. Although it was a large city and medieval writers still commented on the important pharaonic remains there, there is hardly anything left because the material from the temples was reused during the 14th century to build houses in villages in the vicinity.
The most important god was Min, and a rock-cut chapel dedicated to him is preserved on the north-east side of the town. This chapel, probably cut during the reign of Thutmosis III, was decorated during the reign of Ay and restored later under Ptolemy II. Finds made in the extensive cemeteries belonging to the town indicate that it was occupied from the Old Kingdom down into the Coptic Period.