By: Ahmed Yasser
CAIRO, Dec.11 (SEE)- Ruins of old Christian monastery and the largest ancient coptic architecture complex in Egypt, known as the ”monastery of St. Simeon”, is located in Aswan desert, 700 meters from Nile west opposite to the Philae island.
The gloriously photogenic Monastery of St. Simeon sits between the sand dunes on the Nile’s west and was is missing in the 7th century. The monastery has undergone a great number of rebuilding works including the erection of it’s high towers in the first half of the XI century.
Despite the fact that most of the buildings of the ”Anba-Hatre” complex were destroyed but the monastery generates a great interest among architects and archaeologists.
Inside the monastery courtyard are the remains of a fresco depicting ”Christ” enthroned between angels. To the north and west of the church are various subsidiary buildings and small grottoes, while the eastern side is made up of living quarters.
The lower terrace includes natural rock caves with images of Saints, a church with a baptistery and many rooms for pilgrims. Upper terrace designed as a residential complex for permanent owners as well as the monastic cells, refectory, kitchen and workshops.
The church of the monastery is the most important example of the first domed Egyptian churches as well as pottery furnaces in the southern part of monastery are representing a special interest for the study of Aswan ceramics, which was used in Upper Egypt and Nubia during the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic times.
There are oil press made of granite and decorated with three crosses is located on the upper terrace south of the Tower.