One of the major Coptic Christian areas of Upper Egypt, Sohag city lies on the west bank of the Nile. It has been the capital of Sohag Governorate since 1960. Prior to that, the capital was the city of Girga and the name of the governorate was Girga Governorate. Although there are few sights in the city, the nearby White and Red Monasteries, and the town of Akhmim across the river, are all of interest. Police presence here is stronger than in Asyut and Minya and travelers are discouraged from staying. Sohag has discovered tombs and continues to be a subject of much study. It is an ancient cemetery used by the Egyptians for high-ranking officials and royal staff.