Wadi El- Natron

Wadi El- Natron is located 100 km to the north west of Cairo, it is a natural depression in the western desert. Now it is consisting of salt lakes and salt flats laying in the desert.

Wadi el Natorn was very important to the ancient Egyptian since it was where they extracted the Natrun salt. Indeed and become more important during the early era of Christianity in Egypt. Today it is the centre of many monasteries dating back to the fourth century AD.

These monasteries are: 

-The Monastery of Deir abu makar ( st. Makarous)

-The Monastery of Deir Anba bishoy ( St bishoi)

-The Monastery of Deir el Surian

-The Monastery of Deir EL Baramous

Deir abu makar ( st. Makarous)

It is located 4 km of the Alexandria desert road, it consists today of  many remains of a much greater site. The  importance of this place today rises from the fact that here  St Makarios  who was the son of An Egyptian priest who lived here in 330 AD,  he became the  spiritual leader  of the Christian hermits and monks in the area, he was  buried in the monastery , and later about 9 Patriarchs were buried in the same monastery.

The site of monastery  is consisting of several churches, frequently  destroyed and currently  being rebuilt , the main site consist of the cell of chrism and the fluid said to be used to embalm Jesus Christ. The monastery still contains religious painting and frescos that goes back to the 5 century Ad. The monastery is not open for visitors

Deir Anba bishoy ( St bishoi)

One of the mot important monasteries today in Wadi El- Natroun is Dier Anba Bishoi ( Bischoi) it was named after the Patron Saint St. Bishoi who immigrated to the site and lived in here in solitude.

Then monastery was restored several times after it has been destroyed at the hands of the barbers. and Bedouins.  It has 5 churches the main one is the St Bishoi church which goes as early to the 9 century Ad.  This church today is only used during the summertime.

To the east of this church lies another one known as the church of Al- Adra (the virgin), but this one is only  used during the winter month.

At the second flower of the monastery which goes back to the 12 century Ad, there is the church of  angel.  Also there is the charge of St. George which is not used at all. The monastery contains the remains of St. Bishoi, and Ephraim the Assyrian, and Paul of Tomah.

Deir el Surian(The Syrian monastery)


It is located to the north west of  St Bishou monastery almost 400 meters away.  Women are not allowed into this monastery. The monastery goes back the 6th century AD, the monastery was  built by some of the orthodox monks for the monastery of Bishouy who had a dispute with other monks in the monastery about the status of the virgin Mary. They called it the theocratic ( Mother of god)

Later the monastery was abounded and then it was  sold to group of  Syrian  monks. The monastery contains  It has a an olive press, large farm attached to it and a library

The monastery consisting of the following churches:

1- The Church of El -Adra (church of the Virgin) which is considered the main church. Which is used during the summer month   2- Church of Sitt Mariam ( lady Mary), they also call it the  cave church.  It stores the relics of St. John Kame the black who died in 656AD 3-The Church of the forty martyrs 4-The Church of  Hinnes and Marutha, who bought this church for the Syrian monks. 5-  In the second flower of the monastery  lie the churches of S Michael.

Deir EL Baramous 

This  monastery is the  furthest of all , it is located at the  extreme north west  east of Wadi EL Natroun and almost 14 km from the main entrance road to the valley.

The name Deir EL Baramous means, the monastery of the Romans.  It was named so since the area traditionally was famous for being the spot where two Roman priests, fled the Christian persecution during the roman times, have lived here and established this monastery

The monastery like other was badly destroyed and rebuilt and fortified. It has many churches such as:

1- The church of El- Adra. 2- Church of Anba Tadrous. 3- Church of  St John the Baptist. 4- Chapel of Mari Gerges. 5- Church of angel Michael with dome covered hykal


Click on the thumbnails below for the full articles


The Coptic Museum in Cairo is located inside the ruins of the Roman Babylon Fort


The monastery is about 40 Km to the south of the monastery of St. Anthony


The Hanging Church is considered the oldest church in the area of Al-Fustat (Old Cairo).


The church of St. Sergio was built in the centre of the Ancient Roman fort of Babylon


St. Barbara is one of the oldest and the most remarkable churches in Cairo

St Samaan( Simon) the Tanner Monastery(Garbage Village Churches)


is the centre of many Monasteries dating back to the fourth century AD


The Hanging Church is considered the oldest church in the area of Al-Fustat (Old Cairo).


The church of St. Sergio was built in the centre of the Ancient Roman fort of Babylon