The Monastery of St. Anthony

Hidden in the barren mountains off the coast of the Red Sea, St Anthony's lays claim to being the oldest and largest Coptic monastery in Egypt. The sacred centre was founded in 356AD by followers of the hermit-saint, one of the first exponents of Christian monasticism.

Life in this self- contained world continues much as it did 16 centuries ago: with gardens fed by local springs, a mill, a bakery and five churches. Beneath the Church of the Apostles the monk's cells date to the 4th century and were uncovered during a 2002 restoration. The fortress-like monastery evolved over the centuries in response to attacks by Bedouins and Berbers. Of particular interest are the remarkable wall paintings, depicting knights in colourful regalia and somberly-clad her- mits. Long obscured by soot, candle grease and dust, these paintings date from the 7th to 13th centuries and were restored as the result of collaboration between Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities and the American Research Centre in Egypt. Of particular note are those attributed to the Coptic master Theodore.

On a nearby hill is the cave where St Anthony lived as a hermit until the age of 105. St Anthony was born in Egypt in 251AD. After being orphaned at age 18, he distributed his wealth to the poor and became a hermit. Though his life was holy and an inspiration to other saints, it is said the devil persecuted St Anthony with constant temptations of the flesh. The subject inspired the famous triptych by Hieronymus Bosch, as well as works by artists from Fra Angelico to Salvador Dali. From the ship, a two-hour drive over gravel roads takes you to this remarkable site that has loomed so large in western imagination.


Special Notes:
Comfortable walking shoes and a sun hat recommended.

Respectful attire is required while visiting the Monastery, shoulders and knees must be covered.

This visit involves walking over uneven surfaces and a few steps.

The drive from the ship to the monastery is approximately two hours over gravel roads.

A box lunch or snack can be provided if required.


Tour Timings:

Tours begin at times suitable for the ship's arrival in port. The breakdown of the excursions is as follows:
00hr00 -> Depart from Sokhna Port
00hr00 -> 02hr00 Drive from Sokhna port to St. Anthony Monastery
02hr00 -> 04hr00 Visit The Monastery
04hr00 -> 06hr00 Drive time from The Monastery to Sokhna port


Tour Details

Tour Name:
The Monastery of St. Anthony

special interest tours

Tour ID:

Approximately 6hr00

medium excursion

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