Friday, January 26, 2007

Travel: St Paul's Monastery, Eastern Desert

"Located in the Eastern Desert, Saint Paul Monastery remains one of the most popular in Egypt, attracting a regular horde of visitors tempted as much by the desert journey as by the architectural and spiritual experience. In AD 250 -- so the story goes -- the saint fled Alexandria from the wrath of the heathen Emperor Decius; he was only 16. He found a place of hermitage in a cave flanked by a palm tree and a spring, where, nearly a century later in AD 343 he was eventually joined by Saint Anthony, who saw him come out of the cave in a dream and found his way to him. . . . Not so long ago a visitor could only get to Saint Paul by hiring a camel in Beni Sueif; a separate, 25km journey was required to get to Saint Anthony. Today the Al-Sukhna Highway reduces the journey to a straightforward 120km drive. The monastery had been closed for restoration work until 2006, when it reopened: Qummous Daniel offers a complete tour of the premises, featuring the waterwheel and rock art of ancient monks, as well as a full historical account of the site."
See the above page for the full story.

I put phootgraphs from my November 2006 trip to the Monasteries of St Anthony and St Paul on the site below:

1 comment:

howard MJ said...

Hi Andie
I am a regular visitor to Egypt, having been going for many years.- currently I am in the process of developing a massive (eventually) interactive database of all the Egyptian monastic sites.
You can view the background and info here

The Coptic side of Egyptology is sorely lacking, and with the help of people like Gawdat Gabra (ex Coptic museum Cairo, director) whome I am in regular touch, we hope to change this.
I would be grateful if you would consider my request in eventually using some of your photographs on st. Pauls' etc in the database, with reference etc
Best wishes
Howard Middleton-Jones (archaeologist)