The fortress of the village of El Munira north of El Kharga Oasis lies about 20 km northeast of Qasr Kharga and 9 km from the oasis. The Monastery of El Munira is one of the most impressive in the North Kharga in the New Valley Governorate. This monastery (also known as El Deir and Deir el-Ghanayim) was converted into a prominent monastery in the Christian era. It was once one of the oasis’ oldest fortresses built during the Roman times to protect camel caravans at Darb al-Arba’in / Arbeen (Forty-day Road), a road that links the valley to the town of Sohajj, 30 km north of Kharga and near Qasr (Kasr). These caravans were crossing the desert and heading to Nubia and Sudan. The fortress is a large structure with 12 round towers and a passageway between them. Both the Turkish and British Armies occupied the fort in later times.
Location of the Monastery of El Munira
The monastery of El Munira, the fortress of the village of El Munira, is one of the most impressive in Kharga Oasis, which lies about 20 km northeast of Qasr Kharga, 9 km from (north of El Kharga Oasis).
History of Deir El Munira
In the Christian era, this monastery (also known as El Deir and Deir el-Ghanayim) was converted into a big monastery (now in ruins). It was once one of the oasis’ oldest fortresses, built during Roman times.
Deir el-Munira is an ancient Roman settlement located in Kharga oasis, Egypt. It was probably built during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian (284-305 AD) or his successors. The territory consists of a mighty fortress and a clay brick temple. Due to its size, the fort indeed served as a garrison.
After the prominent Christian theologian Nestorius was condemned as a heretic in the 431 Council of Ephesus. He was removed from his position as Patriarch of Constantinople and exiled to a monastery then located in the Great Oasis of Hibis (El Kharga). There he lived for the rest of his life. The monastery suffered attacks by desert bandits, and Nestorius was injured in one such raid. Nestorius seems to have survived there until at least 450. There had composed the Bazaar of Heracleides—the only one of his writings to stay in total and of importance to the Christian Nestorians who followed his teachings.
As part of a caravan proceeding to Darfur, the English explorer W.G. Browne paused for several days at Kharga, leaving with the rest of the group on 7 June 1793. At the time, a gindi (a Turkish horseman that performs extraordinary feats) was stationed at Kharga, “belonging to Ibrahim Bey El Kebir, to whom those villages appertain; and to [this official] is entrusted the management of what relates to the caravan during the time of its stay there.”
In 1930 the archaeologist Gertrude Caton–Thompson uncovered the palaeolithic history of Kharga.