The monastery is 50 km (31 miles) off Suez-Hurghada
road from Za'farana junction. It is dedicated to Saint
Anthony, the founder of Christian monasticism. St.
Anthony was born in the 3rd century AD of a wealthy family.
Following Christ's teachings, he decided to devote himself to
God, leaving all his mundane possessions.
Saint Anthony set for his followers the monastic life. Seeking
solitude, he took himself to a cave in the mountain -away from
his followers- where he lived an ascetic life till his death
at the age of 105.
After Saint Anthony's death his followers built the monastery
and a chapel for him, and centuries after centuries the monastery
started to develop. Fortifications were made to protect monks
from raiding barbaric Bedouins until few centuries ago. Despite
that, many monks martyred, and slaughter was the first cause
of death for many of them.
Today the monastery is the largest in Egypt and is considered
one of the oldest. The compound has chapels, bakeries, farms,
and mills in addition to monks' cell and guest dormitories.
The church of St. Anthony is the oldest part of the monastery
and it was built over the saint's tomb. Monks would happily
offer you help and guide in the monastery.
You can climb up a close mountain to reach the cave where St.
Anthony lived. The ascent takes about 30 minutes and you'd better
start early in the morning to avoid the burning sun.
The monastery offers a guest-house for visitors, men and women.