Dayr Al-‘Askar


This monastery is one of a group of four described by al-MAQRIZI (A.D. 1442), in the neighborhood of Bilqas, to the northeast of the province of Gharbiyyah. He placed it at one day’s march from the and near the salt marsh from which the so-called Rashid (Rosetta) salt comes. He added that it was dedicated to the apostles and that no more than one monk lived there (1845, pp. 45 [text], 109 [trans.]; 1853, Vol. 2, p. 508).

Ramzi (1953-1963, Vol. 1, p. 84) notes that al-‘Askar was a village placed by Yaqut (A.D. 1229) in his Kitab Mu‘jam al-Buldan near Damirah. In the later documents and up to 1809, this locality was associated with al-Maymah (see DAYR AL-MAYMAH) in the district of Danjaway, and their linking might have been the origin of the town of in the markaz (district) of Talkha.

The name ‘Askar was doubtless given to this place by reason of the presence of a military camp (Maspero and Wiet, 1919, p. 127), and the monastery mentioned by al-Maqrizi no doubt took the name of the neighboring small town. It is not to be concluded from this notation by al- Maqrizi that this monastery was still in existence in the fifteenth century, for this author compiled many and other, earlier works.

  • Maspero, J., and G. Wiet. Matériaux pour servir à la géographie de l’Egypte. Mémoires de l’Institut français d’Archéologie 36. Cairo, 1919.
  • Ramzi, M. Al-Qamusi al-Jughrafi lil- al Misriyyah, 3 vols. Cairo, 1953-1968.
  • Yaqut ibn ‘Abd al-Hamawi. Kitab Mu‘jam al-Buldan, 10 vols. Cairo, 1956-1957.
  • . Jacut’s Geographisches Wörterbuch. 6 vols., ed F. Wüstenfeld. Leipzig, 1866-1873. Repr. Tehran, 1965; Beirut, 4 vols., 1955-1957.