|Tom Allen (England):|
|The eerie silence at Abu Mena adds to it's mystique but the absence of visitors isn't reflective of its history as a major place of Christian pilgrimage. The site remains sacred to the Coptic Orthodox Church which is the guardian of the site. Through contacts in the Church I was privileged to get a guided tour in October 2008 but otherwise it's off limits for good reasons. The damage caused by the World Bank funded irrigation project is very evident with the crypt still submerged under water. If you do have an interest in early Christian history, it's well worth looking in to.|
|Date posted: December 2008|
|Kelly K. Henry (USA):|
Abu Mena is not an easy place to visit. It's about 90km West and a bit south from Alexandria. You have to take a taxi which should cost about US$20. The monastery is huge with lots of buildings, a beautiful basilica that is currently being restored. The current Egyptian craftsmanship is far better than anything else being done in the country right now. The ancient monastery archaeology site is off limits to tourists and is virtually impossible to even find on your own. There must have been 2,000 people at the monastery when I visited in September 2004 but I couldn't find one who spoke English, Spanish or French. The ride itself, out through the desert and past a huge abandoned industrial park is worth the trip alone. Take bottled water - none is available at the monastery. St. Mina was an interesting guy. This is the site where the camel carrying his body to burial stopped. A healing spring miraculously started here and many pilgrims came for healing.
Have you been to Abu Mena? Share your experiences!