Wadi El Natrun

Wadi El Natrun

Location: 100 km (62 mi) Northwest of Cairo Map


Description of Wadi El Natrun

Wadi El Natrum is located 100 km (62 mi) Northwest of Cairo in an natural depression in the western desert. In the ancient times ten salt lakes of Wadi El Natrum and salt deposits in this part of the desert were an important sources of salt. With the arrival of Christianity isolated part of the Saqqara desert attracted many Christian monks who were looking for solitude in this abandoned lands. Local legend claimed that Jesus Christ with his mother Mary and Joseph lived in Wadi El Natrum after they fled persecutions of king Herod the Great. This belief became particularly popular in the time of Roman persecutions of Christians.


Monastery of Saint Pishoy (Wadi El Natrum)

Deir Anbu Bishoi


Monastery of Saint Pishoy or Saint Bishoi is named after its founder. There are five monasteries found here. Saint Pishoy (Bishoi) church was constructed in the 9th century AD and is usually used in the summer months. Another church of The Virgin (Al- Adra) is usually used in the winter months. The monastery contains remains of its founder Saint Pishoy (Bishoi), Paul of Tomah and Ephraim the Assyrian.


Paromeos Monastery (Wadi El Natrum)

Deir al- Baramus

The name of the monastery comes from a term that means "The Romans". It is a reference to two Roman Christians who fled the persecutions of the pagan rulers. They settled here and the community that they started eventually grew in the monastery that you see today. The monastery contains five churches that includes Church of El- Adra (The Virgin), Church of Anba Tadrous, Church of Saint John the Baptist, Church of Angel Michael and a small chapel of Mari Gerges.


Syrian Monastery (Wadi El Natrum)

Deir as- Suriani


The Syrian monastery that is found just 400 meters North of Monastery of Saint Pishoy was constructed in the 6th century AD. Original monks separated from the community of Saint Pishoy Monastery over status of Saint Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos). Eventually the schism over forgotten and monastery abandoned. It was later handed over to a group of Syrian monks. The monastery contains a library and olive press. Although the monastery itself is open to the public, women are not allowed inside its walls.



Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great (Wadi El Natrum)

Deir Abu Makar

Saint Macarius, a Christian monk founded this monastery circa 330 AD. Son of the Egyptian priest, he renounced pagan heritage of his family and converted to Christianity. He is also buried here. The monastery contains religious icons and frescoes that date back to the 5th century AD. It is usually closed for tourists, although if you are an Orthodox Christian you probably know the magic words how to get inside.