28 Feb 2017
New Hermopolis, Egypt
Sustainable Tourism

Having helped people on an individual level as a psychiatrist, Dr Mervat Abdel-Nasser wanted to make a change on a bigger scale. Her interest in the philosophy of Ancient Egypt drove her to invest in the land of Ancient Hermopolis, in an attempt to capitalize on its unique heritage and provide economic opportunities to underprivileged communities.  

Abdel-Nasser dedicated a big part of her life to this project, starting from scratch and designing the cultural center, with a library, a seminar, and a conference room. Not only that but the treat also includes a hospitality center of 16 guest lodges, and a farming area. “We have individual studios with ensuite facilities,” Abdel-Nasser said. “The place is ideal for all types of retreats such as wellbeing, writing and yoga.”

Giving local community new opportunities:

Named after the old namesake, New Hermopolis is listed amongst the best eco-lodges in Egypt. In addition to that, it is a retreat for visitors and a cultural site, designed to hold artistic activities and nurture individual potential through personal development and skill training.

Apart from offering an Egyptian experience, Abdel-Nasser also gives a lecture on the philosophy and mission of New Hermopolis when she has the chance to.

“Entertainment nights can also be arranged with the famous Mallawi Stick Dancing Groups (recognized now by UNESCO as intangible heritage),” Abdel-Nasser said. “Otherwise Sufi chanting or Coptic hymns by local groups can also be arranged,” she added.

Besides having a positive impact on the local economy through direct employment, New Hermopolis is also carrying out different outreach programs. By providing women training in food presentation and hospitality, New Hermopolis is building local skills in the Tuna el Gebel region. The eco-village is also working closely with local farmers towards enhancing their production and creating preserved marketable products such as sundried tomatoes and pickled olives.

Nearly zero-energy consumption:

Besides being built in a vernacular architectural style following ecological principles, New Hermopolis recycles, reuses and monitor its water usage. Their water supply comes from their own well, and they use drip irrigation and water-thrifty crops. They also use solar energy for heating, lighting and traditional cooling systems. All of these efforts have been rewarded – New Hermopolis is close to zero energy consumption.

New Hermopolis, a creative and heritage-focused economic community.

in line with the philosophy of Ancient Hermopolis, New Hermopolis sees in arts a tool for building tolerant, open-minded societies and constructive dialogues. The outreach program conducted by New Hermopolis in four neighboring youth centers offers avenues for self-expression and creation. Through their actions, New Hermopolis is hoping to build a stronger sense of local heritage, community harmony and pride in the community’s own culture.

New Hermopolis is an integrated model of development waiting to be recognized and replicatedIt is developing a model for sustainable and responsible tourism that could benefit other regions in Egypt.

“I decided to go in this area not only to establish a model of development, but also to reestablish a city where visitors would gather and come up with creative solutions,”Mervat Abdel-Nasser
A retreat that is honoring its namesake is helping locals and the environment | The Switchers
New Hermopolis Sustainable Tourism
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