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St. Antony Monastery

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Location: It is situated at the foot of Al-Qalzam Mountain near Al Zaafarana.

Who built it ? It was founded in 356 AD by St. Antony, who was considered the first one who established the Christian monasticism, which originated in
the Egyptian desert.

Why it was built ? It was built to be dedicated to St. Antony who was buried beneath one of the ancient churches of it.

Explanation : This Monastery is considered the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world. During the sixth and seventh centuries many monks from Wadi Natroun ,
 who were under frequent attacks by Bedouins, migrated to St. Antony's monastery.

Today, it is a self-contained village with gardens, a mill, a bakery and five churches, the best of which is St. Antony's Church. There is also a library with over 1,700 handwritten manuscripts, but the Bedouin servants, who plundered the monastery, used many manuscripts for cooking fuel.

At one time, there must have been a much more extensive library. The oldest paintings in the monastery date to the seventh and eighth centuries, while the newest are from the thirteenth century. In addition to the paintings, woodwork inside St. Antony's Church was also restored.