The site of the ancient city of Xois, once capital of the 6th Lower Egyptian Nome, is located at the modern village of Sakha in the Governorate of Kafr el-Sheikh.
Xois was in a swampy area of the central Delta and was a centre of worship for the god Amun-Re. It must have been important from early times as the city is mentioned in the Saqqara tomb of a Dynasty III official, Metjen, whose career is documented in his tomb chapel. District administrator of the 6th Lower Egyptian Nome was among the many offices held by Metjen, whose tomb provides valuable information on the administrative process of the Early Dynastic Period.
According to the Egyptian historian Manetho, Xois became a power base and capital city of the Dynasty XIV kings during the turbulent Second Intermediate Period. Dynasty XIV appears to have run concurrently with both Dynasty XIII and Dynasty XV at a time when Egypt was in a fractured state. It is likely that the kings of Dynasty XIV (a total of 76 according to Manetho) were local rulers, kings in name only. They probably paid tribute to the Hyksos who infiltrated the Delta from the north-eastern frontier and came to hold a strong influence in Egypt until Dynasty XVII, from the Delta city of Avaris.
A thorough archaeological investigation of Xois has yet to be undertaken. The village of Sakha, however has another claim to fame. The Sanctuary of the Church of the Virgin Mary is said to house a footprint of the Child Jesus as a bas-relief in a rock which was made, according to Egyptian Christian tradition, during a journey through the Delta by the Holy Family. The rock was kept hidden for many centuries to protect it from theft and only unearthed again towards the end of the 20th century.
How to get there
Sakha is only a few kilometres to the south of the town of Kafr el-Sheikh. It is equidistant to Tell el-Fara’in (Buto) to the north-west and Sa el-Hagar (Sais) to the south-west.