Bahnasa

Bahnasa is 8 km. southeast of Dayr al-Garnus. Once the seat of a bishop, with monasteries and convents housing thousands of monks and nuns. It is said that there have been 366 churches in the area. For this reason, a plethora of ancient papyri were found here in the beginning of the 19th century, including a fragment generally accepted as the earliest extant record of a canonical New Testament text.

During the Muslim conquest of Egypt, al-Bahnasa was a site of fierce battles, quite a lot of Muslim garrison died in war with the Byzantine army. Therefore, the latter Muslim historians named it the City of Martyrs, they also acknowledged in their works that al-Bahnasa sheltered the Holy Family for a long time and witnessed many miracles performed by the young Jesus.

Over the course of time a lot has changed, for today al-Bahnasa is only a small village with some 150 inhabitants. There is a well and a tree allegedly attributed to the Holy Family in the middle of a desolate Muslim cemetery. According to tradition, when Jesus played near the well, he planted a piece of wood in the soil and it grew into a fruitful tree. Archeologists found in recent years the remains of an ancient church.

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