Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fayoum youm youm

Waking up bright and early on Monday morning, I took a bus down to Fayoum, a region south of Cairo, to visit two monasteries and Lake Qarun. There is a giant oasis in Fayoum so it's known for its beautiful environment and fertile land. My uncle graciously asked a priest friend (friendly priest?) from that area to help me get around for the day.

We went to the Monastery of Anba Abraam and the Monastery of Archangel Gabriel, both beautiful and serene. There were very few visitors at both of them which made for good reflecting time.

Anba Abraam was the Bishop of Fayoum in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is beloved by Copts. He has a long history of miracle-working and benevolence. I'm not sure when his monastery was built but it looks fairly new.

The relics of Anba Abraam


The Monastery of Archangel Gabriel was another 20 minutes down the road. It's from the 4th century and has beautiful and old wall frescoes from the 11th century still in tact. A monk gave us a tour in Arabic--I think I got most of it but all the facts I just stated about the monastery might be wrong.

Frescoes in the altar

Excavated caves that monks used to live in


Afterwards, we drove to Lake Qarun--a giant salt-water lake in the area. It looks beautiful--on one side are green fields and the other side is barren desert. Most of the outskirts of Fayoum are like that and the contrast is always remarkable. I really liked all the farmland and fields I saw. The scenery in Fayoum is gorgeous. It's a very nice change of pace from the dust and smog of Cairo. There's still much to see in Fayoum and I definitely plan on going back there soon.

Lake Qarun

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