Dayr Al-Banat


A women’s convent in the Fayyum. This is a small complex of ruins in a on the southern edge of the Fayyum not far from DAYR AL-NAQLUN. The ruins, which can still be seen, lie within an extensive cemetery and point to the presence of an earlier monastic settlement in this place. Up to now it has not been possible to determine to which of the of the Fayyum this site belonged. S. Timm (1984, pp. 762-65) connected all known names of the to originally independent complexes. N. Abbott (1937, p. 46) knows of another monastery situated nearby with the name of Dayr al-Shallah.

The dominant building of Dayr al-Banat is the church, which has been almost completely reduced to a few remnants. It was built with fired and had a western narthex, as well as a nearly square and presumably three-aisled naos, to which was added a series of rooms on the north and perhaps also on the south side. The sanctuary had no great depth, but extended over the whole width of the building so that it assumed almost the character of a transept. No genuine apse can be made out. Presumably it was represented by a somewhat larger wall niche that did not reach down to the floor, and is now lost.

The other buildings are made of mud and therefore are in slightly better condition. The building to the west of the appears to have been the living quarters. It was rebuilt on a number of occasions and contained a central corridor and several rooms arranged irregularly on both sides. East of the church lies what was probably once a two-aisled hall, which may be identified as the refectory of the monastery. The nature of the buildings that are distinguishable, especially the refectory where the meals could be taken together by the community, indicates that the of the monastery lived in the cenobitic manner. There are no remainders of a surrounding wall in evidence.


  • Abbott, N. The of the Fayyum. Chicago, 1937.
  • Khorshid, M. F. A. Churches and in the Province of al- Fayyum (in Arabic). Ph.D. diss., Asyut, 1982.
  • Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, Vol. 2. Wiesbaden, 1984.