These ancient Roman porphyry quarries were the only source for the precious white-and-purple crystalline stone associated with imperial grandeur. Porphyry was used in the Temple of Venus in Rome, the imperial palace in Constantinople and for sarcophagi and columns in Egypt. It was transported across the desert along the Via Porphyrites to the Nile and then shipped across the Roman world. Remains of the quarry town, including encampments, workshops and temples, can still be seen, although not much is standing.
Tours can be easily arranged in Hurghada. Mons Porphyrites is about 40km north-west of Hurghada. A road leading to the site branches off the main road about 20km north of town.