Marking the occasion of Egyptian Copts' traditional January Christmas celebrations on Jan. 5, the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities ceremoniously opened the first stop on its much-anticipated Holy Family Trail, a long-distance route tracing the locations thought to be visited by Jesus, Mary and Joseph 2,000 years ago during their flight into Egypt. The project has been under development since 2013 and is now ready for visits by international tourists.
The stop is located in Samannoud, a small city in Gharbeya governorate where according to the Virgin Mary is believed to have prepared bread and Jesus to have blessed bread for a local woman. The development works in Samannoud included the conservation and enhancement of St. Abba Noub Church, the surrounding landscape and a nearby square and commercial area. Signposts provide information about the history of the place, its location along the trail and different Christian points of interest.