probably stood about 33 ft. high but is now reduced to 20 ft. due to erosion of the mud bricks which constituted the top portion of the wall supported by rough stones on the bottom. The monks were pretty much self-sufficient in their desert home even though no well or other water source has been discovered in the complex. The weather at the time was such that the monks even grew their own grapes in a vineyard above the Nile. Obviously they were able to grow vegetables and grains and practice animal husbandry. Their only danger in the early centuries was raiding parties by Bedouin tribesmen. However, by the 12 th century, larger raids were practiced by Arabs moving in and invading Nubia to the south for its treasures. The “coup de grace” was apparently delivered by Saladin and his men who attacked the monastery in 1173 AD After that devastating raid, the monastery was abandoned. Some archeologists have conjectured that the disappearance of their water supply may have been just as salient in the monk's decision to leave the monastery for good. After the tour of the monastery, Kathy and Kay boarded camels to go back to the boat and John and I got back on the critters to make the long ride across the desert to a Nubian village. Kathy was better by then so we felt okay about going on ahead.
The ride was not as tiring or painful as we might have imagined beforehand because the saddles seemed stable and the horn provided a sense of security as far as balance was
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