The Monastery Complex Today
The monastery today has five churches, the main one being named after Bishoy. The complex is surrounded by a keep, which was built in the 5th century to protect it against attacks by Berbers. There also is a well, known as the Well of the Martyrs. Coptic tradition says the Berbers washed their swords in the well after killing 49 Martyrs from monasteries in the area and throwing their bodies in the well. Ultimately Christians retrieved the bodies and buried them nearby. Under the Coptic Pope, from 1971 to 2012, new land around the monastery was purchased. Poultry, cattle breeding and dairy facilities were developed. Ancient buildings and churches were restored, and the monastery was updated and expanded. The current Coptic Pope also has a residence here.