From Asyut on the west bank of the Nile is a monastery carved deep inside of a limestone mountain. The ancient Egyptians quarried this high quality limestone for their temples. The limestone was transported down from the mountain and then by way of the Nile.
This Monastery of St. Mary, and within it, the cave Chapel of St. Mary is said to date from the first century. In the month of August, the monastery receives as many as a million pilgrims as August is believed to be the month the Holy Family arrived in Asyut.