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    Wadi Natroun    
Monasteries of Wadi Natroun
Monasteries of Wadi Natroun

The wadiWhat does it mean? is located 100 km (62 miles) from Cairo off the Cairo-Alexandria road. This area was once important to the ancient Egyptians. It was providing them with carbonated sodium required for the mummification process, because the area was very rich with its salts.

In the Coptic Christian times, the area became a sanctuary for Christians who were fleeing the systematic Roman persecution in the 4th century and there they started to develop a monastic order.

The area was once flourished by tens of monasteries of which only four survived the time. The common thing these have in common is their strong fortification emphasized by the high-thickened wall. This was to protect monks against the raiding Berbers and Bedouins though without avail in some cases.

The monasteries were built to be autarkic as possible. A monastery usually has churches, storehouses, bakeries, plantation, ranch, dining halls, monk's cells and a keep (stronghold) to which monks were seeking protection if Berbers succeeded in breaking in the monastery.

Aside from the monastery, monks who sought hermitry go to the nearby desert and occupy caves or even dig their own, a tradition that is still maintained to the moment.

If you want to spend an overnight in a monastery and explore more about the Coptic faith you have to get permission from the Patriarchate at Cairo.

Deir Anba Beshoi
Deir El-Suryan
Deir El-Baramus
Deir Abu Makar

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