Located at the foot of Mount Qalzam by the Red Sea, the monastery of St. Anthony is Egypt's oldest monastery. It is built around the centre where Antony, Egypt's firsthermit, settled in the third centuryThe reputation of StAntony's asceticism spread well beyond the borders of Egypt,attracting disciples who beganliving there with him. After hisdeath, the settlement developed into a larger monastic settlement.St Antony lived in a cave in the rocks adjacent to the southernpart of the hermitage, in an
extremely small space, sevenmeters into the bedrock.
the monastic complex extendswell beyond its original core. Thearea today covers more than 18acres, including fortified walls of limestone and mud bricks thatreach a height of ten 10 meters.
The monastery's main door is through its northern wall. In antiquity, the only entrance was a small entrance from the back of the monastery, but its use was discontinued during the reign of Emperor Justinian afterthe monastery's second enclosure wall was built.
There monastery includes a three-storey fortress, where monks would have sought refuge duringtribal raids. The keep is accessed via bridge, and contains a well and storage spaces. The second floor has a large dining room and on the third floor, a number ofrooms that were used for the accommodation of visitors. Asmall church dedicated to the
Archangel Michael is on thefourth floor of the keep.
Modern buildings outsideof the ancient enclosure include several spaces foraccommodating visitors, shops and a library housing rarebooks and manuscripts, manyof which date back to thethirteenth century.