The Monastery of St. Simeon is an ancient Coptic Christian monastery, located on the west bank of the Nile River, about 12 kilometers north of the city of Aswan. The monastery was built in the 7th century AD during the reign of the Byzantine Empire, and it is dedicated to St. Simeon the Stylite, a Syrian monk who lived on top of a pillar for 37 years.
The monastery was a thriving center of Christian worship and scholarship until the 13th century when it was abandoned due to the spread of Islam in Egypt. Today, the monastery is a popular tourist attraction accessible by boat from Aswan.
The Monastery of St. Simeon is also known for its annual pilgrimage, which takes place on January 15th and attracts thousands of Coptic Christians from around Egypt. During the pilgrimage, worshippers gather to pray and celebrate the life of St. Simeon.
How to explore the Monastery of St. Simeon?
- Explore the Monastery: Take a walk around the grounds of the Monastery and discover its unique architecture and history. Also, check out the remains of the monastery, including the main church, the courtyard, the kitchen, and the monks' cells.
- Admire the Frescoes: The Monastery of St. Simeon church is renowned for its beautiful frescoes. Take some time to admire the intricate artwork and learn about the religious stories depicted in them.
- Climb to the Top of the Monastery: Climb to the top of the hill to enjoy the panoramic view of the Nile River and the surrounding landscape.
- Attend the Annual Pilgrimage: If you are in Aswan on January 15th, don't miss the opportunity to attend the Monastery of St. Simeon's annual pilgrimage. You'll witness thousands of Coptic Christians gathering to celebrate the life of St. Simeon.
- Take a Boat Ride on the Nile River: To get to the Monastery of St. Simeon, you'll need to take a boat ride on the Nile River. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and take in the views of the riverbanks as you travel to and from the Monastery.