Belbeis is an ancient fortress city on the eastern edge of the southern Nile delta in Egypt, the site of the Ancient city and former bishopric of Phelbes and a Latin Catholic titular see.
The city is small in size but densely populated, with over 407300 residents. It also houses the Egyptian Air Force Academy complex, which contains the town’s largest public school in Al-Zafer. The mosque of Sadat Qureish, which is the oldest mosque in Egypt, and perhaps the entirety of Africa, is located in Belbeis.
The city was important enough in the Roman province of Augustamnica Secunda to become a bishopric.
The city played a role in the machinations for control of the Fatimid vizierate: first in 1164, when Shirkuh was besieged in the city by the combined forces of Shawar and crusader king Amalric I of Jerusalem for three months; then again in 1168 when the city was assaulted again by Amalric’s army, who took the city after three days on 4 November and indiscriminately killed the inhabitants. This atrocity angered the Coptic Egyptians, who had seen the Crusaders as deliverers but had suffered as much as the Muslim inhabitants of Bilbeis. The Copts ended their support of the Crusaders and united with their non-Christian neighbors against the foreigners.
In 1798, its fortifications were rebuilt at the order of Napoleon.