St. Simeon Monastery
There’s a moderate charge to enter St. Simeon Monastery, with discounts for children. As getting here generally involves chartering a boat to cross the Nile and then climbing a hill (often by camel), most travelers prefer to visit on an organized tour or with a private guide who can do the haggling for them. It’s possible to combine a visit to St. Simeon Monastery with Aswan’s Tombs of the Nobles, also on the west bank.
Things to Know Before You Go
St. Simeon Monastery is of interest to history buffs.
The walk up the hill can be extremely hot depending on the time of year. It’s well worth paying extra to ride a camel.
The new monastery, near the ruins, is not open to tourists.
St. Simeon Monastery is not wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
St. Simeon Monastery is located on the west bank of the Nile, facing Elephantine Island and Aswan. The easiest way to reach it is to charter a boat, then ride a camel up the hill, although it’s also possible to walk. Alternatively, catch the ferry from the Corniche to the Tombs of the Nobles, then arrange a donkey or camel there. A few tours approach by road, which involves a lengthy detour and some walking.
When to Get There
St. Simeon Monastery is open from morning to afternoon, seven days a week. While the site is rarely crowded, and it’s even sometimes possible to have the ruins to yourself, aim to arrive soon after opening to beat the heat. That’s particularly important if you’re walking from the river.
Monasteries of Egypt
While Egypt is officially an Islamic country, around 10 percent of the population follow the Coptic Christian religion, and Christianity has a long history here. Besides St. Simeon Monastery, other ancient monasteries include St. Catherine’s Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Sinai Desert; St. Anthony’s Monastery, in the Eastern Desert; and the monasteries of Wadi Natrun, between Cairo and Alexandria.
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