Red monastery, the church of Saints Bishai and Bigol, Sohag, Egypt, was the heart of a large monastic community, in a region known as an important center for the ascetic life in the 5th century, C.E. It is an astonishingly rare example of the coloristic intensity of late antique monuments in Egypt. In this church, late antique paintings cover about eighty percent of the walls, niches, columns, pilasters, pediments and apses. The building’s elaborate figural and ornamental paintings, combined with extensive sculpture and monumental architecture, make it the most important historical church in Egypt.Nowhere else in Egypt do we know of a monument of the late antique and early Byzantine period whose architectural sculpture is in situ up to the highest level of the building. Thanks to the remarkable results of this ARCE/USAID conservation project, the monastery is already being mentioned in company with other outstanding Late Antique buildings such as San Vitale (Ravenna), and the Hagia Sophia (Istanbul). The project is directed by Dr. Elizabeth Bolman of Temple University. The Coptic Church has participated substantially in this project, offering hospitality and support.
Courtesy of the American Research Center in Egypt, Inc.
Egypt ; Arabic: مصر, Miṣr or Máṣr) is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Western Asia. Covering an area of about 1,010,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi), Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its estimated 82 million live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable agricultural land is found. The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with the majority spread across the densely-populated centres of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx. The southern city of Luxor contains numerous ancient artifacts, such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. Egypt is widely regarded as an important political and cultural nation of the Middle East.