Inside, we restored all of the icons and paintings, as well as the architecture of the church. The most impressive thing, though, was that underneath this church, we discovered the oldest Coptic cell in the world. It dates to the 4th century AD, and the areas where the monks would stand and sit are still visible. Our restoration experts constructed a plexiglass floor over this cell, which allows visitors to view this old cell while still preserving the 6th century structure above.
Another building that was very well restored is the dining hall, which contains a long dining table made of limestone, with space for about 60 people to sit around it and eat. There is also a space for a person to sit and recite religious texts. The restoration work here kept the feel of the past, and I could imagine it was like the dining of the Middle Ages.
The Monastery of Saint Anthony also has a fortress that dates to the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian, in the 4th century AD. This area was used to protect the monastery from the attacks it suffered through its long history. The monastery also has a well that provides over 100 cubic meters of water, a water wheel, a grinding area, and a garden.
The landscape of this monastery is beautiful, and many scholars come to study the architecture of this place. During our restoration, we removed several buildings that did not fit with the original design of the monastery and restored over 110 cells.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
More re restoring the Monastery of St Anthony