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St Anthony's Monastery, Egypt

St Anthony's Monastery, Egypt
Wall paintings at St Anthony's Monastery, Egypt
Above: St Anthony's Monastery, Egypt
  • St Anthony's Monastery, Egypt
  • Wall paintings at St Anthony's Monastery, Egypt

St Anthony’s Monastery stands at an oasis spring in the Red sea mountains around 100 miles from Cairo, it is the worlds oldest active monastery. It was founded around 356 AD just after the death of St Anthony, on his burial site. Although a Coptic monastery today, throughout it’s history, the monastery was often multi-faith, home to monks from many different Christian religions. Amazingly the monks who inhabited the monastery today still speak Coptic; a religion directly descending from that of the ancient Egyptians.

Today, St Anthony’s is a self-contained ‘desert village’ with a bakery, a mill, gardens and 5 churches. The best of these churches is that of St Anthony himself. Recently the Egyptian Council of Antiquities and the American Research Centre in Egypt collaborated to restore many of the exceptional wall paintings. Many of these paintings date back as far as the 7th and 8th centuries and depict holy knights in bright colours and the hermit founders of the monastery.

St Anthony was born around the year 251 in Heraclea in Upper Egypt to wealthy parents. At the age of 20 both of his parents died and left him to care for his unmarried sister. In 285 he decided to pursue the path of Christianity. He then gave his fortune to the poor and left his sister in the care of a group of Christian virgins. Anthony sought refuge in a cave in the desert area of Wadi – El – Nutran, where he lived his life as a hermit. Whilst in the desert Anthony is said to have been tortured by the temptations of the Devil. The cave where St Anthony lived as a hermit is a 2km hike from the monastery itself, and once you arrive at the cave you are rewarded with stunning views over the mountains and sea.

We can offer excusions to St Anthony's Monastery on any of our tours including Hurghada and on any tailor-made itineraries.

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"Thank you for a fantastic holiday, the staff, diving school, guides helped make our trip really enjoyable and run smoothly. It was well organized and we can't wait to get back to Dahab and do some more diving!"

Ms. L. Smith (Diving in the Red Sea)

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