The monastery of Semaan al-Kharraz was built in Mokattam in the Al-Abagiyah area in the heart of Fatimid Cairo, where more than two and a half million stones were moved for its construction until it reached its current form.
A monastery that is one of the most famous holy monasteries, and an architectural masterpiece, carved in the heart of the rocks of Mount Mokattam, makes you stand in front of it while you are in a state of wonder and amazement at its splendor and beauty! With regard to the idea of building it, it came after the discovery of the cave in which Saint Simeon was buried in 1974 AD by a mission of Coptic archaeologists.
They succeeded in finding a tomb containing a skeleton, allegedly belonging to "Simon the Tanner", and a drawing of the patriarch, accompanied by a bald man who fills two water jars, the man who scientists believe is Simon the Kharraz, in addition to finding a rare bowl, whose manufacture dates back to more than a thousand years old, and scientists believe that it was the vessel that al-Kharraz used to transport water to the homes of the poor.
Anba Samaan is a righteous Christian man. He was called the tanner because of his work in the manufacture of shoes and leather tanning. He is also one of the saints in the Coptic Orthodox Church. He lived during the time of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Muizz Li-Din Allah, and in the Coptic heritage, he was known as Samaan Al-Kharraz.
It is worth noting, that this monastery extends over an area of approximately one thousand meters, and includes all the discoveries found in the tomb of Simon Al-Kharraz, in addition to beautiful paintings carved in the rocks of Mount Mokattam. Also, it has four churches, namely: the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin and St. Simon Al-Kharraz, the Church of Anba Abram Ibn Zara’a the Syrian, St. Mark’s Church and St. Simeon’s Hall, which can accommodate two thousand people, and the Church of Anba Paula, the first tourist.