Near Nag Hammadi, on the eastern Nilshore you find the Pachomius Monastery with three churches. Here the old scriptures of the Nag Hammadi Library with gnostic philosophy were found. The best know of them is the Gospel of St. Thomas.
In the Temple of Abydos we saw the most beautiful paintings we every saw in a temple in Egypt. We really were amazed by their beauty and astonished that there are so few tourist programs coming up from Luxor to this place. The main temple is called after the god Seth with many small chapels where also Osiris, Seths brother is commemorated. Behind you find a special temple for Osiris: The Osireion. Der Mythos: Als die Götter regierten, erschlug Seth seinen Bruder Osiris, zerstückelte ihn und warf seine Glieder in den Nil. Seine Schwestergemahlin Isis fand den Kopf in Abydos und Hautfetzen in Theben. Stück für Stück fügte die Göttin Osiris zusammen, empfing posthum Horus und bestattete Osiris. Fortan sollte Osiris über das Jenseits herrschen. Sein Sohn Horus rächte den Vater und erschlug Seth. Horus wurde zum Himmelsfalken und Königsgott.
On our way from El Berba to Luxor we stopped at some monasteries in the Nil Valley and stayed over night in the Mutrania (Bishops House) of Sohag. Area of Sohag: Eastern Nilshore: ca. 6km northeast of Akhmin: Monastery of the Archangel Michael (Malak); Monastery of the Martyrs (Deir al-Shuhada); Monastery of the Virgin Mary Western Nilshore: White Monastery; Red Monastery. Here Italian Specialists where just finishing there work of restoration. So we saw beautiful old frescos.
Quite close to Berba, “just” 24km south on the western edge of the desert you find the monastery of Abu Vena. He was a Saint and monk from the end of 4th century. The old monastery founded by him was hidden in the desert for centuries. The monastery was most likely built around the burial site of Saint Fana. His tomb was found during excavations of an international team representing seven European academic institutions and led by Austrian scholar Prof. Dr. Helmut Buschhausen in 1992. We visited it already for the third time and again enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of the desert and the strong spiritual feeling of the monks. One of the monks was even speaking a little bit German and telling us his touching personal story.
“Bustan al Bachja” which means “Garden of Joy” is a green oasis in a brown and grey surrounding. Here children can play in a secure place, families can meet and celebrate feasts. Groups from schools, other parishes or also Muslim organisations use this garden for meetings. The maintenance of the garden is paid by the little entrance fee all groups have to pay. With Juliana’s watching eye, good watering of the grass and plants and the yearly repairing of broken playground equipment the garden will stay a wonderful place for many people and years!
In El Berba the community of Sisters of Sion is rather small. In the moment it’s only Sr. Juliana keeping up the wonderful hospitality of Notre Dame de Sion and living their charisma of Dialogue and Solidarity. So she often has guests from the village or is out for visiting families in their homes.
We really had trouble to find gas for Sr. Juliana’s Toyota Avanca! Between Cairo and Minia on this 300km there was no gas station with gas of 90 or 92 Octan. There maybe were two or three with gasoline and long queues of cars, motorbikes and tractors. So with our last 10l we went from El Berba to Minia searching for gas without success, continued to the pharaonic grave site of Beni Hassan and in the evening returning to Minia with Osamas help we found a totally crowed gas station with the fuel we needed! Beni Hassans caves are not visited very often by tourists. So the Tourist Police was waiting for us and guiding us all the time from one cave to the other. The colour and the variety of the paintings inside are really remarkable!