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1. Medinet Madi

2. Qasr Qarun and Dionysias

3. Karanis

4. Lake Qarun

5. Wadi Rayan

6. Fayoum City

7. Water wheels

8. Qasr el-Sagha

9. Umm el-Baragat

10. Dimai

11. Monastery of Gabriel


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Monastery of the Archangel Gabriel

Monastery of the Archangel Gabriel, Fayoum Oasis, Egypt

The legendary background for the Monastery of the Archangel Gabriel, or Deir al-Malak Ghobriel, goes back to the 5th century, when the grandson of the king had a vision of Virgin Mary and the two archangels Gabriel and Micheal at this place.
For centuries the monastery was neglected to the advantage of other nearby monasteries. It lies on an elevated limestone rock on the slope of the Naqlun Moutain.
Although some parts of the present structure may date back to the 5th century, it is believed that the main church was largely rebuilt and redecorated late in the 19th century. But during a 1997 restoration, 11th century paintings of saints like Gabriel, Virgin Mary and Jesus were discovered.
In 1991 mutilated 12 skeletons were discovered near the monastery. The Coptic Church declared them martyrs, and relics of the find has been distributed to churches all over Egypt and even abroad.
After more than 1000 years of activity, the monastery would be abandoned. But in modern times, it is being repopulated by Coptic monks.
There is an annual moulid dedicated to Gabriel on December 18. This is one of few times through the year, when the place gets crowded.

By Tore Kjeilen