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Christianity and Monasticism in Upper EgyptVolume 1: Akhmim and Sohag$
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Gawdat Gabra and Hany N. Takla

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789774161223

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774161223.001.0001

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The Triconch Sanctuaries of Sohag

The Triconch Sanctuaries of Sohag

(p.239) 21 The Triconch Sanctuaries of Sohag
Christianity and Monasticism in Upper Egypt

Gawdat Gabra

Hany N. Takla

American University in Cairo Press

The triconch was an established building type in late antiquity. Its name describes its defining feature, three semi-circular exedrae or apses. The basic idea was realized in many variations, large and small, roofed and unroofed, free-standing and embedded, centralized and longitudinal; and it was used for many purposes, public and private, secular and religious. Most often the three exedrae are aligned on cruciform axes, as at Sohag, but the axes are not always of equal length; one may be elongated, isolating the central conch in a focal position, and the apses are not always of the same size. In the class of triconches the Sohag examples stand out for their monumentality and relatively good state of preservation. Despite much recent discussion about the origin and history of the triconch sanctuary (“abside tréflée”), there is still much we do not know, and new research continues to challenge old theories and assumptions. This chapter reviews the course of scholarship on the churches of the monasteries of St. Shenoute and St. Bishoi.

Keywords:   triconch sanctuary, Bishoi, Sohag, monasteries, presevation

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