You really need an interest in Coptic history to appreciate this site which is in two parts, old & new
Although you can take a camel from Qubbet el-Hawa (i.e. the ticket office for the Noble’s Tombs) we took a taxi round by road from Aswan.
On the right of the road is the current monastery, which is very much live and under re-building/expansion. They have rooms for rent – a form of retreat – which it appears anyone can use.
We didn’t go in since a service was in progress, but toilets and cold drinks were available nearby
A few hundred meters further on, on the left, you can see the ruins of the ’Old’ monastery, Deir el-Anba Sama’an, so there is no need to enter the ‘New’ monastery. Ticket office is ‘round the back’, & ‘down the hill’ from the car park, a paved path showing the way. One ticket is currently 30LE
Do your research before you go, the local guide speaking little English, although he mimes actions such as the grape trampling. You may, of course, have your own guide. For some there may not be much to see, in that there are no hieroglyphics or statues etc., but coming across by camel may be a highlight of your day?
Apart from domestic areas like kitchens, Grape trampling pits etc. the main sights are:-
• A long corridor with the monk’s cells off to both sides and a room for ‘non-believing’ travellers at the end, which has graffiti from various other beliefs such as Judaism and others
• The Church area with it’s hole in the niche through which the priest would hear confession
• The stables for the camels
This area obviously means a lot to the Coptic faith, bus loads arriving when we were there.
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