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xAl Dier (El Munira Monastery)

 

One of the most impressive in the North Kharga, the fortress of the village of El Munira (north of El Kharga Oasis) lies about 20 km northeast of Qasr Kharga and 9 km from the oasis. In the Christian era this monastery (also known as El Deir and Deir el-Ghanayim) was converted into a big monastery (now in ruins). It was once one of the oasis’ oldest fortresses built during the Roman times to protect camel caravans at Darb al-Arba’in / Arbeen (Forty-day Road), a road that links the valley to the town of Sohajj, 30 km north of Kharga and near Qasr (Kasr). These caravans were crossing the desert and heading to Nubia and Sudan. The fortress is a large structure with 12 round towers a passageway between them. In later times, the fort was occupied by both the Turkish and British Armies.

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