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St. Simeon Monastery
St. Simeon Monastery

St. Simeon Monastery

Deir Amba Samaan, Aswan

The Basics

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.

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Private Tour: St Simeon's Monastery
Private Tour: St Simeon's Monastery
star-4
$92.22 per adult
Traveler Favorite
While visiting Aswan by way of...
While visiting Aswan by way of Uniworld River Cruises. We decided to take a break from the normal schedule and hired a Viator Guide for a private tour to St. Simeons Monastery. This turned out to be a very great decision! Ramez Saber and a representative of Viator met us at the ships front desk, we walked a short 50 yards to another small boat and set out to cross the Nile. During the short sail we got to know our guide Ramez. He had deep knowledge of the area, articulate and delightful charm. Once docked, we were met by 3 guys and 3 camels. For about 40 minutes we rode camels, led by the young guys to St Simeon Monastery. It was a beautiful, 85 degree, low humidity day. The sun was definitely intense so I was grateful to have worn long sleeves and a scarf Early February. If you have ever watched Queen of the Desert with Nicole Kidman, you will have a sense of what this short journey was like. It is a landscape that takes your breath away! We stopped at The Monastery and Ramez began with exciting stories of how the Monastery came to be and why it was used. We spent an hour weaving in and out of its many rooms, thankful for Ramez as I would have surely been lost. The fortress-like 7th-century Monastery of St Simeon was first dedicated to the local saint Anba Hedra, who renounced the world on his wedding day. It was rebuilt in the 10th century and dedicated to St Simeon. From here the monks travelled into Nubia. Afterward, we saddled up once more for a short trip to another docking area. A boat was waiting to take us back to the ship via a longer scenic ride through the Nile. Ramez took great care to make certain we were entertained and at ease the entire 3.5 hour trip. I enthusiastically recommend this private excursion to The Saint Simeon Monastery with Viator Tours and Ramez Saber!
Paul R, Mar 2016

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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