Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan

#4 of 10 in Historic Sites in Aswan
Ruin · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
An ancient Christian religious site, Monastery of St. Simeon lies in a remote location between the desert and the Nile. A visit here offers you the chance to learn about Coptic Christianity's history and customs while enjoying the view of the surrounding dunes. Hire a guide, or visit at your own pace. A small shop on site sells refreshments. Prepare for heat, and wear good walking shoes to negotiate hot sand, stairs, and loose rocks. To find out how to plan a trip to Aswan, use our trip itinerary maker.
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  • I have visited this site on numerous occasions and whilst its not a major site in the area it is certainly worth having a good guide, many travel by camel however ive always gone by road. Its...  more »
  • A very beautiful place and the tour guide there very rich with all information you may need about the place. The view there is breathtaking and it’s very organized like it was 1500 years ago. I felt.....  more »
  • Interesting example of a Coptic Christian Church in Egypt that has also been used by Egyptian and Arab religions. The original church is a Balisica type (orthodox Christan), but a partial update has Arabic script decorations. 100 monks lived here at one point, with up to 300 visitors accommodated.
  • Monastery of St Simeon Monastery in Aswan The fortress-like 7th-century Monastery of St Simeon was first dedicated to the local saint Anba Hedra, who renounced the world on his wedding day. It was rebuilt in the 10th century and dedicated to St Simeon. From here the monks travelled into Nubia, in the hope of converting the Nubians to Christianity. To get there, take a private boat across the Nile then walk up the (mostly paved) desert track, or hire a camel to take you up. Tickets & tours Surrounded by desert sands, the monastery was built on two levels – the lower level of stone and the upper level of mud brick – surrounded by 10m-high walls. At its height, the monastery may have housed as many as 1000 monks, but it was partially destroyed by the troops of Saladin (Salah Ad Din) in 1173. The basilica has traces of frescoes. The cells still have their mastaba (bench) beds. The last room on the right includes graffiti from Muslim pilgrims who stayed here en route to Mecca. An alternative way to get here is to take the ferry to the Tombs of the Nobles and ride a camel or donkey from there. Remember to bring water

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