Asyut (äsyōtˈ) [key], city (1986 pop. 272,986), E central Egypt, on the Nile. An industrial and trading center and also the seat of a university, it is famed for pottery, carved bone and wood, leatherwork, and silk shawls. Nearby is the Asyut Barrage, which helps regulate the Nile's flow and impounds water for irrigational use. Asyut was the ancient Greek city of Lycopolis and later a station of the caravan trade. The city has a large Coptic Christian population, although many have left.