Mostorod, place of miracles, is only 10 km away from Cairo.
On the way from Sinai to Cairo, the Holy Family arrived to Mostorod and stopped for a rest after a long way.
Here can e visited the Saint Mary Church, the cave where the Holy Family rest and the fountain built in 1st Century AD where Jesus caused a water spring to well up from the ground.
This area is also known as "Al Mahamma" which means "the Bathing Place", a name given to the town because the Virgin Mary bathed the Christ Child and washed his clothes.
According to the church's history, in 1185 AD on this place was an important church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The current church has been recently restored and has a nice collection of icons.
Everything around is poor, the church being hidden behind a gang.
Belbeis (or Bilbays), the ancient city of Philippos, in Sharqiah Governorate, lies 45 km north from Cairo.
This is not a place usually visited by a lot of travelers that why from a certain moment a military patrol accompanied our group.
According to the legend, when the Holy Family entered the city a funeral procession was leaving, accompanying on his last road the dead son of a widow.
Jesus felt great compassion for the poor widow and raised the dead man.
The Holy Family rested there in the shade of a tree which was called, "The Virgin Mary"s Tree", but today there is not evidence of the place were the tree was.
Belbeis was an important bishop centre in 4th Century AD, St. George Church being built in 1960 on the site of an ancient church.
Cairo is very noisy city so after 4 days I wanted something less stressy :) I hired a taxi again and I visited oasis Fayoum, the lake Qarun and Wadi Rayyan.
Only an hour out of Cairo and we drove through the desert until we saw waterfalls, green grass etc!!! The place was almost empty, a young boy was my guide for a while and I only met some fishermen.
It was a nice trip and I took some pics that I really love. You can see some of them here.
The taxi costed me about 15 euros and I hired the taxi from the hotel but you can find one on the streets if you like the driver and you negociate the price. I just find it safer with one from the hotel because I guess they are more reliable.
After giving a bath to Jesus, the Virgin Mary tippled the water on the land and on that place God made turn up a tree - "balsam", with a special blossom.
The essence of that tree is still used in the preparation of the scents and perfumes of which the holy Chrism is composed.
This place is known today as "Mary's Tree".
The Al-Fayoum Oasis is the largest Oasis of Egypt and at 100KM the nearest oasis to reach from Cairo.
The town of the oasis is Medinat al-Fayoum, a crowded town with 400.000 inhabitants.
In the centre of the town opposite the tourist office are four models of water wheels.
In the oasis are still 200 water wheels of this kind.
in ancient times Wadi Natrun, at 100KM north-west of Cairo, was important as a source for natron, needed for mummification.
Now Wadi Natrun is connected with the Coptic church. In the past there existed 60 Coptic monasteries in this area. Now only four remained. Three monasteries can be visited. We visited Deir Anba Bishoi. It was a place of solitude and serenity. A Coptic monk guided us and showed us the Coptic art and the nice architecture and explained a lot about their customs.
The Fayoum Oasis deserves a stay of several days, though a day trip just visiting a few places is possible. It lies in a depression surrounded by low mountains.Cultivation is carried out at the northern tip. Water comes from Bahr Yousif by canals. The canals drain into Birket Qaroun, a large lake, saline, but once favoured as a summer resort by the ancient Egyptian royal family..
The Fayoum has been inhabited since neolithic times, but it was Amenemhat I of the 12th Dynasty who developed the area. There are two pyramids [at Hawarah and al Lahun
It was also an early centre of Christianity and offered sanctuary to Copts..
It is a sea of green as you approach on the desert road. The cultivation is dense and the produce helps feed Cairo, to which many of the younger generation gravitate.
Buffalo are used to plough, and can be seen walking along the roads. They are suppliers of milk and cheese too.
It can be reached by bus or railway.
Near the Virgin Mary's Tree, on the right side of the road, is a small chapel.
The wooden doors are not isolating the inside and even if these are closed you can still admire the fresco presenting the Holy Family resting under the tree.
A remarkable thing is that everything around Mostorod is called after Virgin Mary's name: the church of the Virgin Mary, the mosque of the Virgin Mary, the fountain of the Virgin Mary and even the block of flats have Virgin Mary's name.
I arrived in Baharia Oasis with no clue of how would be this desert experience, and let me tell u, it was awsome. I stayed in Ahmed´s Safari Camp in Baharia and from there we spent 2 days (one night) in the black desertt and white desert. The whitness of the desert, the sky, the lack of sound, the desert fox visiting the camp at night, the warm water springs, all.
Skip Al Azhar Park - it is nothing more than a green area built on top of a former garbage dump - there is a restaurant there but nothing any better than any other restuarant. It is a park that costs a few EL to get in thus keeping the less than fortunate out. It does provide a view of the city but you can get better from many other locations. Instead, spend this time exploring Islamic Cairo (which includes Khan Al Khalili but much much more as well.) This will provide you with architecture, culture, local people, etc...
Cross over into the Al Ghouri Complex - this provides you with the local shopping experience as well as discovering mosques, the ancient wall that once surrounded the city and an entrance into further exploration. You will go through Bab Zaweyla (a very distinct ancient gate) and into the tent makers bazaar - keep going and you will completely leave the tourists behind and experience daily life in one of the busiest (and most densely populated) sections of the city.
Do not miss the sailing on the Nile in fellucca. It is the best Nile experience you can get. Warm summer night, wide Nile river, lights of the city, big boats passing by you, the flower of Nile floating on the river, an old man in traditional "galabea" dress steering the sailing boat. Very romantic...
Wadi Natrun is a semi-arid plain about 100 kilometres from Cairo, roughly off the Cairo/Alexandria road. Wadi Natrun means valley of the Natrun, and Natrun is the mineral used for mummifying purposes.
Wadi Natrun is home to 4 wonderful and old coptic monasteries: Al Baramus, As Suriani, Al Anba Bishoy, Abu Maqar. In the past, however, there were more than 50 monasteries - which have since then been destroyed by Berber tribes. They are all built according to a similar pattern: an outer wall with one or more churches inside, storerooms, a dining hall, kitchen, bakery, a free standing fortress and monks' cells.
It's best to hire a car to get there, as they are far apart from each other (and in the middle of nowhere, too). As Suriani and Al Anba are undoubtedly the most interesting, while Al Baramus the most remote. Abu Maqar is possibly the most important, but it's usually necessary to phone ahead if you want to visit, since it's not normally open to the public
In Matariyah, the Holy Family stopped for a rest under a tree.
Here, too, the Infant Jesus caused water to flow from a spring, from which He drank and blessed, and in which the Virgin washed His clothes.
if you are lucky enough, you must visit somes of the unkown areas of the city.
is not easy like the "City of the Death", allso is not so safe places. but if you find them and they trust you, just feel very special and friendly.
they will love you.