Wadi Hammamat (English: Valley of Many Baths, Coptic: ?, Route of waves, Indian route) is a dry river bed in Egypt's Eastern Desert, about halfway between Al-Qusayr and Qena. It was a major mining region and trade route east from the Nile Valley in ancient times, and three thousand years of rock carvings and graffiti make it a major scientific and tourist site today.
Hammamat became the major route from Thebes to the Red Sea and then to the Silk Road that led to Asia, or to Arabia and the horn of Africa. This 200 km journey was the most direct route from the Nile to the Red Sea, as the Nile bends toward the coast at the western end of the wadi.
The Hammamat route ran from Qift (or Coptos), located just north of Luxor, to Al-Qusayr on the coast of the Red Sea. Qift was an important center for administration, religion, and commerce. The cities at both ends of the route were established by the First Dynasty, although evidence of predynastic occupation also has been found along the route.
In Ancient Egypt Hammamat was a major quarrying area for the Nile Valley. Quarrying expeditions to the Eastern Desert are recorded from the second millennia BCE, where the wadi has exposed Precambrian rocks of the Arabian-Nubian Shield. These include Basalts, schists, bekhen-stone (an especially prized green metagraywacke sandstone used for bowls, palettes, statues, and sarcophagi)  and gold-containing quartz. The Narmer Palette, 3100 BC, is one of a number of early and predynastic artifacts that were carved from the distinctive stone of the Wadi Hammamat.
Today Hammamat is famous mostly for its ancient Egyptian graffiti, as well as that, in ancient times, it was a quarry that lay on the Silk Road to Asia, and is a common destination for modern tourists. The wadi contains many carvings and inscriptions dating from before the earliest Egyptian Dynasties to the modern era, including the only painted petroglyph known from the Eastern Desert and drawings of Egyptian reed boats dated to 4000 BCE.
Occupying groups from the Roman-Byzantine Periods to the Late Ptolemaic Period operated gold mines near the well Bir Umm el-Fawakhir. Yet, the New Kingdom of Egypt gold mines at Wadi el-Sid were on a larger scale.:129,136-141
A modern asphalt road, the Wadi Hammamat road now runs for 194 km through the wadi, making it a vital transport route, and enabling tourists to travel easily between the sites of nearby Luxor and Thebes.
The first European descriptions of the Wadi Hammamat were from the Scottish traveler James Bruce in 1769, and the Russian Egyptologist Vladimir Golenishchev led the first modern study of the inscriptions in 1884-1885.
Pi-hahiroth on the eastern shore of Sinai just south of the Gulf of Aqaba, near Thebes port of Elim, is recorded in the Book of Exodus as a stop on the flight of the Jews from Egypt, suggesting that their path was through the Wadi Hammamat.