As we tell in the page dedicated to Coptic Christianity
Egypt is the ‘cradle’ of the monastic movement, with ascetics who are still great examples to follow in terms of spiritual retreat. But in addition to its religious value, a route through the monasteries of Egypt is interesting from a touristic and cultural point of view, since they are very unique historical constructions.
In our agency we like to elaborate tailor-made trips and, although we would love to put them all together in one big monastery tour, in Egypt we would love to the distances are great, which complicates this possibility. Therefore, we grouped the precincts according to their proximity and affinity, so we actually have to talk about three routes in total.
Route through the monasteries of the pioneers
The pioneers of the monastic movement were two anchorites of the 3rd and 4th centuries: St. Anthony Abbot and St. Paul of the Thebaid (or the hermit). Both retired to carry out what are considered the first eremitical experiences in the middle of the desert, in the Eastern Desert, within the current Governorate of Suez. In both cases, to natural caves or grottoes in the surroundings of which monasteries were founded and are still standing today. Visiting both on the same trip can therefore be one of the most interesting routes through the monasteries of Egypt. It should be noted that, in a straight line, they are only 15 km away, but since the terrain is steep, it is necessary to drive about 75 km, which is approximately 1 hour by road.
Route through the monasteries of Wadi Natrun
While St. Anthony Abbot and St. Paul of the Thebaid are well known to universal Christianity, the saints venerated in the monasteries of Wadi Natrun have a rather national prestige. This is the case of San Bishoy and San Macario, as well as the monastery of Sirios and Romanos. There are four in total, located halfway between Cairo and Alexandria, in the Western Desert. For this reason, it is often an interesting stop on the journey from one city to another. Its architecture, with an air of fortress and slender palm trees in all the enclosures, will conquer all visitors.
Route through the monasteries of Egypt Middle
The route through the monasteries of Egypt Medio includes four other enclosures: the Red Monastery, the White Monastery, the Burnt Monastery and the Monastery of the Virgin, spread between the cities of Sohag and Asiut. They are less visited by international religious tourists, but enjoy great devotion among local Coptic Christians. The reason: the belief that the Holy Family reached Asiut during the Flight to Egypt, being this the southernmost place they reached.
And of course, we must not forget another essential monastery, the monastery of St. Catherine, which is usually visited as an excursion from the holiday resorts of the Sinai Peninsula and is of Greek Orthodox worship.
Whatever the choice Egypt Exclusive can organize a tailor-made experience, as we are an agency specialized in spiritual and religious travel.