Deir Al Adra El Minya, Egypt information, tours, prices, booking
Deir Al Adra which means “the Virgin Mary’s monastery” also called Gebel El Teir monastery. In fact, the last name means “the mountain of birds” and the reason behind this name mentioned below. Deir Al Adra located about 24 kilometer to the north of El Minya city. It is in the eastern bank of the Nile. In fact, Deir Al Adra situated on the top of the Birds mountain. The mount rises about 100 meters from the ground. Deir Al Adra is an old Monastery and church which built by Empress Helena in 328 AC. Furthermore, Deir Al Adra located on the site where the Holy family stayed during their flight to Egypt. Moreover, Deir Al Adra is about 100 kilometer south of Beni Suef. Furthermore, Deir Al Adra or Virgin Mary’s monastery situated on a hill on the east bank of the Nile.
Faithful pilgrimage held there between January 29th and August 22nd each year. To the north are ancient quarries and a low relief of Ramses III. Just south are the Frazer tombs which date back to the 5th and 6th Dynasties. Moreover, there are four tombs which are simple and built into the desert cliffs. In fact, Deir Al Adra houses one of the most beautiful in Egypt which the Church of the Holy Virgin. This Christian church stands on the east bank of the Nile some forty kilometers north of El Minya Bridge. Moreover, the church located in Middle Egypt and just east of the city of Samalut. One may cross the Nile from Bayahu to Gebel El Teir by sailing boat. In fact, there is no regular service to reach the monastery. Moreover, it may take up top two hours for the crossing depending on the wind.
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After reaching the east bank of the Nile one must climb 166 steps up a cliff to reach the church. The building sits among the dwellings of the mountain, on top of a rock. There, you can have a wonderful view of the Nile Valley with its cultivated fields and lush palm tree groves. Gebel El Teir named so because of the thousands of Birds that live and nest in the cliffs. Moreover, Deir Al Adra or Holy Virigin Mar’s monastery also called Gebel Al Kaff which means “mountain of the hand”. Tradition holds that this was one of the locations that the Holy Family visited in their trip in Egypt. In fact, they passing by this place in a small boat headed up river. And then, the Holy Virgin noticed an enormous rock coming loose from the mountain.
The rock was about to fall on the boat and its occupants. The child Jesus extended his hand, intervened and stopped the rock from falling on the boat. The shape of Jesus hand remained imprinted on the rock. In fact, this rock which has dimension 70 cm x 50 cm, displayed now at the British Museum in London. As mentioned above, the Church of the Holy Virgin built by the empress Helena (mother of the Emperor Constantine). It was to memorize the passage of the Holy Family. The west wall of the church features a memorial tablet. In fact, it indicates that the first structure completed in the year 328 AC. Moreover, the tablet repaired by Severus, the bishop of El Minya in 1938. In fact, the original edifice was a tomb which dates back to the late Roman period. It transformed into a church during the 7th century.
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Indeed, its shape is comparable to that of the funerary monuments of Roman Egypt. Deir Al Adra inhabited by monks until the middle of the 19th century. Moreover, Deir Al Adra visited by various visitors including Wansleben in 1672 AC. The visitors also included F. L. Norden in 1740 AC and Richardson in 1816 AC. Moreover, Henniker in 1819 AC and Lord Cursor in 1838 AC also visited Deir Al Adra. At first glance, the church looks a massive brick construct with a steeple in the northeast corner. In fact, the church at Deir Al Adra or Holy Virgin Mary’s monastery carved from the rock. The renovation and restoration work carried out in 1938. In fact, they included the removal of the original stone roof. It was to make the church taller so that a second level could added. Extra rooms added on the south and west sides.
In fact, this church is where the local Christians baptize their children. Moreover, a large building has recently built next to the church. In fact, this building houses seven baptismal fonts. The church itself has a Naos, which consists of a nave with two side aisles. Moreover, the church comprises a western return aisle and three sanctuaries. Ten columns hewn from the rock separate the small side aisles and western return aisle. On the south side of the church, the baptismal font has carved in a column. The area in front of the middle sanctuary raised about one meter above the nave. In fact, it is to serve as a Choir (Khurus). The choir approached by a double flight of steps. Two columns with exquisite Corinthian capitals delineate this space, which prolongs the nave.
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Moreover, the central sanctuary located behind an iconostasis (screen). In fact, it also hewn from the rock. Furthermore, it decorated with small pilasters and niches. In fact, they are the characteristic of ancient Upper Egyptian Churches. The small room to the south of the sanctuary was the ancient narthex (entrance area). In fact, it is the oldest part of the church. The church also features motifs which motifs drawn from the vegetable and animal realms. In fact, they are above the west entrance friezes from ancient Christian edifices. Moreover, they show seven human figures. Each one of the these figures depicted within a niche and holds a book in the left hand. In fact, these human figures represent seven apostles. Moreover, they were once a part of a larger composition and the rest of which now lost.
The Church of the Holy Virgin is the goal of a pilgrimage which attracts about tens of thousands of pilgrims. In fact, they come by sailing boats, trains, buses and other transport from all over Egypt. They come to Deir Al Adra for the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin. In fact, this feast celebrated on August 22nd at Deir Al Adar monastery every year. Deir Al Adra monastery also known as the monastery of the Pulley. In fact, it is because of an old pulley which housed in the monastery. This pulley used to enter the monastery from the base of the cliff in the past. This pulley has a great importance to Deir Al Adra. In fact, it was the only mean to enter the Holy Virgin Mar’s monastery or Deir Al Adra.