town, capital of Al-Qalyubiyah muhafazah (governorate), Lower Egypt. The town lies on the right (east) bank of the Damietta Branch of the Nile and on the At-Tawfiqi Canal in the delta area. It is about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Cairo on the highway to Alexandria. Its Arabic name is derived from the Coptic name Panaho. Since the early European Middle Ages, Banha has been known for the production of quality honey. It is situated in the heart of a highly fertile cotton-growing district, and its industries include cotton ginning, manufacture of cotton and flax textiles, and vegetable processing. It is also well known for its oranges and grapes. Its historic position on the direct route from Cairo to Alexandria made it first a road centre and later a principal rail focus of Egypt. Lines from Banha link Cairo to Ismailia on the Suez Canal (east) via Az-Zaqaziq and to Alexandria, via Tanta and Damanhur (northwest). Close by are mounds of the site of the ancient town of Athribis. Pop. (1996) 145,792.
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