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With Nitria is an Egyptian Christian hermits settlement of the western part of the Nile Delta , about 70 km southeast of Alexandria km south and 15 of Damanhur referred.

The early Christian writer Palladios (approx. 364-430) speaks of the mountain Nitria, although it can only be a small elevation or dune above the flat plain of the Nile Delta. The Nitria was on the edge of the then cultivated land near a canal between the Mareotissee and the western Rosetta arm of the Nile on a Natronsee , after which it was named. Today it is located in the middle of agricultural and irrigated area near the present-day village of Al Barnuji and is difficult to prove archaeologically. In addition to the Sketis and the Kellia (cell desert), the Nitria is one of the areas in the Sahara foothills southwest of the Nile Delta between Alexandria and Giza , where one of the basic forms of Christian monasticism developed in the first half of the 4th century, namely that of the hermit community. Christians (especially from the nearby metropolis of Alexandria) withdrew here, following the example of Saint Anthony, to renounce the world in asceticism .

The monastic settlement Nitria was founded around 325/30 AD by the Antonius student Amun (also: Ammon, around 288–356). It quickly became known and grew to several thousand inhabitants by the end of the 4th century, including not only monks, but also merchants and bankers. Because of its proximity to Alexandria and with the discovery of the new Christian way of life, monasticism , Nitria became an attraction for ancient travelers who wanted to visit the strange monastic settlement for religious reasons and out of sensation. That is why Amun retreated into the desert about 15 km further south in 338 and founded the Kellia there with a few brothers . At the entrance to Nitria stood the three famous Nitria palm trees. On each of these palm trees hung a whip, with which sinners and criminals were whipped while clutching the palm tree; on the first palm the monks who had sinned against their brothers, on the second palm robbers and thieves, and on the third palm strangers who did not know how to behave. In the 5th and 6th centuries the population declined due to many nomad attacks, and in the middle of the 7th century the settlement was completely abandoned.


  • Martin Krause: Comments on late antique and Coptic Egypt . In: Egypt, Treasures from the Desert Sands . Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, Wiesbaden 1996
  • Hans Conrad Zander: When religion wasn't boring. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2001

Coordinates: 30 ° 56 '  N , 30 ° 23'  E