Some 23 meters below the sea level, lies the town of Wadi El Natrun in El Beheira Governorate ,about 90 km north-west of Cairo. Wadi El Natroun is one of the major tourist attractions in Egypt for enclosing various types of monuments that date back to Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic Era. The name, 'Wadi El Natrun' refers to the presence of 8 different lakes that produce natron salt. The reason is that the Ancient Egyptians used to extract the natron from this valley to be used in burial and mummification rites. Additionally, the valley includes 9 small lakes where migrant birds seek shelter in winter months. Thus, the site is a preferred place for bird-watchers. The valley is regarded by Christians in Egypt as one of the holy places that the Holy Family visited during their journey to Egypt. In the 4th century, St. Macarius, retired in the Natron Valley, later was followed by thousands of people who preferred the isolated and ascetic life of the desert. Organized in communities, these people lived in cells and caves. In Wadi El Natron, there are 4 monasteries that date back to the 4th century. Well-fortified against the attacks launched by the desert nomads, the monasteries became self-sufficient. With the Christian disputes over the nature of Christ, the monks were divided and new monasteries for each party were built. Today, only 4 monasteries have survived.