Located about 72 miles south of Asyut, the City of Sohag is the capital of the Sohag governorate. Sohag has a long history. It was a great metropolis during the Ancient Egyptian and Coptic eras. Although there are few sights in the city, the nearby White and Red Monasteries, and the town of Akhmim across the river, are all of interest.
The Coptic White Monastery is a Coptic Orthodox monastery named after Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite. The name of the monastery is derived from the colour of the white limestone of its outside walls. The monastery was originally founded by Saint Pigol, the maternal uncle of Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite in 442 AD. The only surviving piece of the original monastery is its church complex, which was built in the Basilica style. Its outer appearance shows an astounding resemblance to that of an Ancient Egyptian Temple.
The Red Monastery’s name is derived from the colour of its outside walls, which are red brick and are considerably thicker at the base than at the top. Currently, the monastery is occupied by only a few monks, but the church still serves the Coptic communities of the surrounding villages, as well as the pilgrims who visit during the big feasts of the Coptic liturgical year.
Akhmim has several mosques and two Coptic churches. The Monastery of the Martyrs is located about 6 Km northeast of the city. Today, little of its past glory remains. Nothing is left of the town, the temples were almost completely dismantled, and their material reused in the later Middle Ages.
As the site of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, 4000-year old Luxor has frequently been characterised as the "world's ...