Dayr Al-‘Adhra’



Also called Dayr al-Bakarah, a monastery located near al-Tayr, a modern on the east bank of the Nile in the domain of an old monastery that was inhabited by monks down to the end of the nineteenth century. The belonging to it was accommodated in a rock evidently deriving from the late imperial period. Of this tomb there survived a peristyle, which is still surrounded today on three sides by columns hewn out of the rock.

These later served as the naos of the church, with a richly decorated western entrance in the axis of the southern portico and an additional anteroom on the south side. Substantially less regular are the rooms on the east, which, at the time of its conversion into a church, were probably first wrought out of the rock in their present form. It is significant that in the middle of the altar area there is a hollow space leading deeper. This rebuilding can hardly have taken place before the seventh century.

The upper interior structures belong to modern times, including the galleries and a spatial reorganization in the sanctuary. At this time a couple of additional pillars were set up in front of the altar area. The staircase approach from above in the southeast corner, described by earlier visitors (Noroff, 1840, and Curzon, 1881), is no longer in existence.


  • Butler, A. J. The Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt, Vol. 1, pp. 348-51. Oxford, 1884. Repr. 1970.
  • Curzon, R. Visits to Monasteries in the Levant, pp. 114-22. London, 1881.
  • Noroff, A. Voyage en Egypte et en Nubie en 1834-1835, Vol. 2. Petersburg, 1840. trans. by O. V. Volkoff, copte 11 (1985):42-44.