History of Europe

Has the oldest monastery in the world been found? Murals in Greek

With wall paintings in Greek, the members of a Norwegian-French archaeological expedition discovered in the Oasis of Baharea, what is considered to be the oldest monastic monument, perhaps not only in Egypt, but worldwide. It is a monument that has been built gradually over a period of time between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. in the area of ​​"Tel Ghanoub Asr El Aghuz", 370 kilometers southwest of Cairo.

Excavations are carried out there by the French institution Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (IFAO) and the Norwegian institution MF Vitenskapelig Høyskole, Norway. So far, a deserted hermitage has already been excavated, a hermitage built in five time phases, from the first half of the fourth century to the seventh century. In the center of the site, a rocky area, a church and adjacent liturgical spaces have been discovered. Also, in the same area, two cells, a dining-kitchen and a hall and four more rooms, one of which was a church, were discovered.

In the later extensions of the site, a total of 19 rooms were built and a church connected to two stone halls. There, many wall paintings were also found – also in the church – written in the Greek language that referred to biblical and patristic texts, as well as fragments of clay vessels with Greek inscriptions that referred to the monks, possibly from the fifth or sixth century.