The Desert Monk
Enjoy the gentle sway of your camel’s back as you venture deep into the desert to see the 7th-century Monastery of Saint Simeon. Take time to explore this place of worship that looks more like a fortress, including the monks’ dwellings and church with its fragmented frescoes, while you learn more about the monastery’s history. From the church to the monks’ cells, the location tells an atmospheric story of monastic life in the ancient world.
Then end your tour with a visit to the nearby Nubian Village, reflecting a fascinating and enduringly distinct culture steeped in history.
Your tour-guide will pick you up from your hotel or cruise ship.
1st stop – Motor-boat ride:
Head to the edge of Elephantine Island in Aswan in a motorboat.
2nd stop – Camel Ride:
When you reach the island, your camels will be waiting to carry you to the Monastery. The quintessential camel ride lasts approximately 30 minutes.
3rd stop – The Monastery of St. Simon:
Surrounded by desert sands, the monastery was built on two levels, the lower constructed from stone and the upper from mud bricks. The building is surrounded by ten meter (three foot) high walls. Here you’ll find the basilica with traces of frescoes, and nearby the chamber where St. Simeon prayed. The cells with their mastaba (bench) beds once provided accommodation for about 300 resident monks and around 100 pilgrims.
4th stop – The Nubian Village:
On the West Bank of the Nile, near the town of Aswan, is a colorfully painted Nubian Village. To farm around the Nile, the friendly Nubians moved from Sudan over 8000 years ago, bringing with them a unique culture and language.
Finally, your tour-guide will escort you back to your hotel or cruise ship.
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