The short trip to Mons Porphyrites is a popular excursion from Hurghada.
Egypt’s rare porphyry was highly valued by the ancient Romans, and these former Roman quarries were mined for their precious purple and white crystalline stone, used to decorate columns, sarcophagi and temples.
This former quarry town was once a thriving settlement of houses, temples and workshops. Today, you can still see relics of this activity, which involved not only quarrying the semiprecious stone but also dragging it for miles across the remote desert sands to the Nile, from where it was shipped to Rome.
Nearby Mons Claudianus supplied the Romans with rare black granite, which was used to carve the pillars of Rome’s Pantheon.