Egypt: St Simeon Monastery in Aswan

This was truly incredible and off the beaten path – a trip to an abandoned 7th century Christian monastery deep in the orange sands of Sahara. Established as an outpost of Christianity it housed about 300 monks and doubled as a monastery and a fortress untill being destroyed by Salladin in the 12th century. It hasn’t been used since, but the ruins are quite well preserved and no restoration has been done to it. Strangely, it’s not known and tourist companies don’t advertise it – but it truly was phenomenal. You have to ride a camel across the sands for about 40 minutes before arriving at this crumbling fortress surrounded by endless desert in all directions. Nobody is at the monastery – you have it all to yourself to explore and climb around – just need an Indiana Jones hat.

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