Mysterious City of Abu Mena

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Mysterious City of Abu Mena

The most popular destination of Egypt is the Abu Mena, which is a Christian Pilgrimage center and an old monastery intricate. The 11th century’s geologist Al-Bakri and other visitors of medieval period described the Abu Mena in very fascinating language of complex erected of marbles and ornamented with stunning statues and mosaics. The remnants were found by Cark Kaufmann, a German archaeologist, in 1905, to the southwest of Alexandria in the Mariut Desert. The excavation have discovered baths, a baptistery, basilicas, workshops, and a church that was built on the 3rd century’s Christian martyr Menas’ shrine.

During the medieval period, in the east of Egypt both, Abu Mena and St. Mena, sites were the pilgrimage sites of the Christians and largest Coptic town. This site is also known as “the Vineyard of St. Menas” that has raised many curiosities. You can see many artifacts found on the sites at Cairo in the Coptic Museum.

Between 1905 and 1907, the first round of digging the ground of Abu Mena started. During the digging of the site, a basilica church and one more church next to it was discovered. Archaeologists think that it the church, adjacent to the basilica church, has remnants of saint Mena as well as roman baths. Now they even found huge dormitory and think that it was made for the deprived people of Abu Mena.

Many remnants were found on the site of Abu Mena but the most significant is the Thermal Basilica. It was made in 5th century and was used to keep the healing water. And during the same century and in 6th century, several structures were made on all sides of the thermal. To the north of Basilica, you will see significant 48,000 square yard monastery.

In Karm Abu Mena, Arcadius Basilica, to the south of Alexandria, is a remarkable complex, which is supported by 56 marble columns. To the end of the Basilica is this baptistery located in hemispherical marble alcoves.

Built in 5th century in the center of glamorous complex just south of Alexandria in Karm

Abu Mena History:

The subjects on the patrons of merchants and Egyptian Saint are several myths and legends. In the Diocletian times, a Roman legionary, with Libyan or Egyptian origin, was converted into Christian faith and died as a martyr in Phrygia in 296 AD. So his fellow comrades were on their way to home with his body on a camel. On their way when they thought they could not go further, so they decided to bury his body in the Libyan Desert. After burying his body there, many miracles happened later on that spots like 90 spring of water came out which attracted pilgrims from near by areas, later all over the country, to collect the water in potteries.

The period of this all structures and cemetery made are in still in question. In a short period of time, the tomb of the martyr was widened on top of the other burials surrounding it. By the end of the fourth century, over it an oratory was erected. Then in beginning of the fifth century, a basilica was built, which was later restored by the Basilica of the Crypt in 6th century. In the eastern end, Great Basilica was constructed around the same time on the earlier structure. After the holy was damaged by fire, most probably, outcome of widening of Islam, which started onwards seventh century, a new five aisled basilica was constructed by the Patriarch Joseph, before 850.

Then again during this period many acclaimed new shrines and around them city was got into existence. The complex was glamorous, made of marbles and was ready for to become a pilgrimage site. The fifth and sixth century, the city of St. Menas was blooming with prosperity but after the widespread of Islam in seventh century, it was frequently raided and destroyed by the Abbasids. In the 13th century, finally, it was abandoned and later with time, the city was buried under sand of the desert.

How to get there to Abu Mena:

From Alexandria, it is located at 50 miles distance, which is a good, found for stopovers.

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