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Dayr Al-Bakhit (Luxor) - Coptic Wiki



The name of this monastery could only be the Arabic transcription of a Coptic word meaning “of the north,” in contrast to Dayr al-Qibli (Monastery of the South), the name given to the temple of Hadrian to the south of Habu. This appellation could be older than the typically Arabic name Dayr al-Bahri, identical in terms of sense, given to the established in the temple of Hatshepsut (Winlock and Crum, 1926, Vol. 1, p. 116, n. 1).

This name would indicate its more ancient origin, when Coptic was a spoken language and before Arabic became preponderant. These two monasteries bearing the same name, the one Coptic, the other Arabic, are close to one another on the left bank of the Nile, opposite Luxor.

The ruins of the Dayr al-Bakhit were still clearly visible at the beginning of the century. The best description was given by Winlock and Crum (Vol. 1, pp. 21-22). Despite its being termed a DAYR, it was, it seems, much more a center combining the services of a community of hermits living in caves rather than a true monastery. Mention of it will be found in Lepsius (1852, p. 267).

  • Lepsius, R. Letters from Egypt . . . 1844-45. London, 1852.
  • Winlock, H. E., and W. E. Crum. The Monastery of at Thebes, 2 vols. New York, 1926.




Considerable remains of the small monastery complex were still standing on the plateau of Dira’ Abu al-Naja, east of Qurnah, in the nineteenth century. Travelers reported several residential buildings, the doors of which had pointed arches. Today most of it has collapsed, but still standing are numerous traces of walls of buildings, sometimes of several stories, with large and small rooms. The construction shows mud brickwork on a high socle of masonry. The location of the church cannot be determined without excavation. Also there are no traces to show the course of the surrounding wall. The area of the monastery yielded several chance finds of ostraca and papyri from the sixth to seventh century (so far unpublished). It is not yet clear with what ancient site the monastery is to be identified.

  • Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, Vol. 2, pp. 682-84. Wiesbaden, 1984.
  • Winlock, H. E., and W. E. Crum. The Monastery of at Thebes, Vol. 1, pp. 21-22. New York, 1926.