The monastery was founded in the 7th-century, but it was destroyed; and rebuilt in its present form in the 10th century, dedicated to St Simeon.
From here the monks travelled into Nubia, hoping to convert the Nubians to Christianity.
The monastery consists of two levels; the lower level was built of stone, while the upper level was built of mud brick with 10-meter-high walls, giving the form of military fortress.
A long time ago the monastery housed as many as 300 monks and could receive up to 100 pilgrims at one time, but it was partially destroyed by the troops of Saladin (Salah ad-Din) in 1173.
Most of the existing buildings were added to the monastery as a kind of expansion, renovation and rebuilding process of the original building of the old monastery.