The Red Monastery, Sohag

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#42 of 60 in Historic Sites in Nile River Valley
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Church
The Red Monastery is a Coptic Orthodox monastery named after an Egyptian saint called Pishay (who is not to be confused with the famous Saint Pishoy). It is located near the Upper Egyptian city of Souhag, and about two and a half miles (4km) north-west of the White Monastery. The name of the monastery is derived from the colour of the construction material of its outside walls, consisting of red (burnt) brick. These walls are considerably thicker at the base than at the top, and, just like the walls of Ancient Egyptian temples, they are surmounted by cavetto moldings. The Red Monastery is architecturally similar to the White Monastery.
The history of the foundation of the Red Monastery is not known, and it is thought to have been built at the fourth century AD. by an Egyptian saint called Pishay (who is not to be confused with the known Saint Pishoy). This saint was a contemporary of Saint Pigol, the founder of the White Monastery.
Almost nothing is known of the history of the Red Monastery (Deir al-Ahmar, Deir Anba Bishoi or Bishai) near Sohag, though it is one of the most famous Christian monasteries in Egypt. It lies about two miles (3km) north of the White Monastery at the extreme western edge of the cultivated land. However, unlike the White Monastery it is situated within a small village, and some houses lie to the south and east. The area to the north and west of the monastery is mainly covered with debris.
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  • The plain exterior of this ancient monastery is in sharp contrast to the splendor of the artwork inside: the interior doorway is ornately carved, and the frescoes around the main altar are simply...  more »
  • The decorations in this monastery are outstanding and the monks are very welcoming and eager to explain details. Access was via a very rough road from the White Monastery and the local security were.....  more »
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