Deir Abu Hennes


Deir Abu Hennes or St John's Monastery is one of the popular tourist attractions at Gabal El Teir Area. It is one of the ancient monasteries in the area since it dates back to the Roman Period at the reign of Empress Helena; the mother of Constantine (328 AD). This Coptic Orthodox monastery has a great religious value for Christians since it was the cave where Virgin Mary and Jesus stayed at in the seventh day of their journey from Egypt to Palestine. Of special interest in this monastery are the remains of some Coptic inscriptions and the magnificent niches over the walls with brightly colored icons in its center.



Church of Gabal El Teir


The Virgin Mary Church at Gabal El Tair is a popular attraction for Christians whether Egyptians or foreigners especially in the annual celebration or El Moulid that takes place in the 22th of August. It is located on the eastern bank of the Nile eastward Samalout and about 40km away from El Menia Bridge. Gabal El Tair area is called in that name because it is usually visited by visited by a large number of immigrant birds. Sometimes it is called also as Gabal El Kaf since there is a story saying that a huge rock was going to fall on the Holy Family during their journey but Jesus managed to stop it with his hand leaving the prints of his palm on it. Sadly the rock with the prints of Jesus has been stolen from Egypt. The Church of Virgin Mary at Gabal El Teir was constructed by during the Roman era by Empress Helena; the mother of Emperor Costantine and this appears clearly in the Roman architectural style of the building. The area of the church was mainly the cave where the Virgin and here son stayed at in the 7th day of their journey and in 328AD the first religious place was constructed there. In the 7th century the first religious place was erecter in that area and was inhabited by many monks including Lord Cursor, Henniker and others till the first half of the 19th century. Saint Severus, the bishop of El Menia, restored the church in 1983 removing the stone roof to make the church taller and adding more residences for monks and visitors. The interior plan of the church comprises of three sanctuaries, two side aisles and return aisle separated with a number of rock-cut columns. For entering the church one should climb a long flight of stairs. Worth admiration in the interior of Virgin Mary Church at Gabal El Tair are the small niches and pilasters with brightly colored icons for monks and saints.


Limestone Quarries


The area of Deir El Bersha was one of the main sources for limestone used for constructing the huge Pharaonic Temples and sculpturing magnificent statues since the New Kingdom till the Roman Era. During excavation works in Wadi Deir El-Nakhla, near Deir El Bersha numerous limestone quarries and the settlements of workers and some of their instruments were found. Some ancient Egyptian relieves and hieroglyphics indicate that the quarries of that area were the source from which limestone used in Hermopolis Temple in the era of Amenophis III.


The Ruins of Hermopolis Magna

In the rich archeological site of Hermopolis Magna, buildings and houses dating back to the Pharaonic, Greek and Roman Eras can be identified. As for buildings that belong to the late Pharaonic Era, they are mainly well-constructed mud-brick houses that once belonged to wealthy people. Here, among the Greco-Roman monuments– which were built over many other constructions from the New Kingdom and the Late Period–is a paved streets running from the north to the south through the city. The cemetery of the people of Hermopolis was found in Tuna el Gabal. The cemetery which was found nearby Hermopolis has tombs of the Middle Kingdom.


Monastery of Abu Fana


Nearby Ashmunein District stands the Coptic Orthodox Monastery of Abu Fana. Its name comes from the Coptic hermit, Abu Fana who lived in the 4th Century and was known also as Saint Bane. In 1992, the excavation works in the area discovered the cemetery of Saint Abu Fana which is annexed to the church currently. There are testimonies from the 6th century about the monastery's existence indicating that it once gave shelter to more than 1000 monks from the old monastery. Only the ancient basilica survived in part. By the passage of time the major part of the monastery was destroyed except for the historical church. The German Excavation team assumed that this monastery was established mainly on the location of one of the ancient Egyptian temples. The monastery was restored for several times for its religious and historical value such as 1993 restoration and 2002 restoration and the area surrounding it is currently declared as an archaeological site. This monastery is one of the important religious places for the Christians in Egypt that is called the Monastery of the Cross due to the large number of finely carved and decorated crosses in it.



El Lamati Mosque


El Lamati Mosque is one of the major Islamic monuments in El Menia city currently. it was established in 1155 during the Fatimid Rule in Egypt. Worth admiration in this mosque is the simple decoration that distinguishes the Fatimid style and this is clear in the plain Minaret over the mosque. the interior plan of the mosque comprises of a central open courtyard surrounded by some aisles with nice arches.




El Amrawi Mosque

El Amrawi Mosque is one of the major Islamic monuments in El Menia City that dates back to the 7th century. It is called after Amr Ibn El As since it is the first mosque to be built in the city after the Arab Conquest of Egypt. The mosque is distinguished by its Fatimid style of decoration and the simply decorated columns supporting its ceiling.


El Sheikh Said Cemetery

On the west bank of the Nile, near the city of Mallawi, lies the archeological site of El Sheikh Said Cemetery. It is located few meters away from Deir El Bersha and encloses a number of limestone quarries as well. This archaeological site is known in that name because there is a tomb for one of the prominent religious figures in the city buried in that area. Here, some high officials of the First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom are buried. Among the owners of that cemetery are Meru-bebi, Wau and Ankheti. Basically, the plan of these rock-cut tombs comprises of a chapel, a small hall, a chamber for the statute of the deceased and shafts for burials.


Temple of Hatshepsut in Istabl Antar


Dating back to the Middle Kingdom, the Temple of Hatshepsut is a rock shrine cut in the cliffs and located about 3 kilometers far from Beni Hassan. The decoration of the temple dates to the reign of Queen Hatshepsut. The scenes depicted are dedicated to a local lion-headed goddess identified with Hathor, Sekhmet and Bastet. Since the Greek equivalent of 'Bastet' is 'Artemis', temple was known as The Cave of Artemis in the Greek period. The entrance of the temple lies in middle of 4 unfinished pillars cut in the rock. In the pronaos, there are 4 unfinished pillars. Dating back to Hatshepsut, some of the texts in the temple have survived. In these texts, the Queen relates the destruction and chaos that the Hyksos had caused during their invasion of Egypt. The painted scenes depict the Queen worshipping various deities. Usurping part of the scenes, Seti I represented himself receiving the coronation from Amun and Pekhet. A short corridor with traditional scenes (usurped by Seti I) leads to the sanctuary that contained other traditional scenes depicting the coronation of Seti I. In the temple's area, there is also another unfinished chapel dating back to the reign of Hatshepsut. Also found nearby is a cemetery of cats from the Late Period.

Alabaster Quarries of Hatnub


Alabaster Quarries of Hatnub are located about 65 kilometers to the south of the city of Menia and few meters away from Tel El Amarna City. It was the main source for alabaster stones used for building temples and sculpturing statues in Ancient Egypt since the Old Kingdom till the Roman Period. The site was annexed to the residences of the the workers of the alabaster quarries and there were some magnificent hieroglyphic inscriptions retailing the history of the place. At the beginning, this precious stone was used only by kings and queens, but later it was used by some of the nobles and prominent officials and there were numerous battles for possessing it. Senwosret I Tomb that was transferred to Karnak open-air Museum is one of the most fascinating necropolises enclosing alabaster statues and artifacts.