Monastery of St Simeon
Deir Amba- Samaan (Monastery of St Simeon) is one of the best preserved Christian monasteries from the 7th century.
Although much of the monastery is in ruins, it is easy to see the two distinct levels and on the upper terrace are the remains of the towers and lookouts. The keep which is one of the largest of this period, was a 3 story building with individual rooms for the monks, a kitchen and several workshops.
The lower terrace housed the church and the rock caves of the saints. The church was one of the oldest domed oblong churches in Egypt but nowadays only the lower part of it remains. Most of the paintings that adorned this terrace have been damaged over the years.
On the north wall of the sanctuary there is still a painting of juxtaposed, haloed figures seated, representing the twenty-four and on the west side of the church is a painting depicting the Holy Virgin Mary standing between two bowing angles.
The monastery once housed 33 monks and in the cemetery there are tombstones dating from the 6th to the 9th century, some 200 tombstones in total, with different prayer formats and text. By the end of the 13th century the monastery was abandoned wither due to a lack of water or due to the constant raids by thieves.
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