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
www,ambilacuk.com/coptic

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)
howardmj@yahoo.com