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Egypt: Coptic Cairo

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Coptic Cairo | Egypt | Africa

[Visited: March 2001]

Coptic Cairo - a christian sanctuary in a Moslem world and city. This is actually one of the oldest parts of the city, although it does not always show. Coptic Cairo actually is a walled part of the city - once inside, the chaos of everyday life seems far away. Research shows that a settlement was built here around 24 centuries ago. Always on the river Nile. At those times, Islam had not yet arrived in this part of the Middle East.

Picture of Coptic Cairo (Egypt): Al Muallaqa church Cairo

The Nile is not around anymore as it moved to the west, but excavations have revealed the remains of a quay just outside the walls around Coptic Cairo. Unfortunately, when I was here a lot of repair works were being done, so there was a lot of noise, drilling and dust in the air. Nevertheless, I visited the Hanging Church, or Al-Muallaqa. Built on top of the water gate of Roman Babylon, this church dates back 16 centuries, although the outside would not reveal that age.

Picture of Coptic Cairo (Egypt): Detail of Coptic Church - Cairo

Once inside, I mainly encountered a lot of mess, piles of rubbish, and dust everywhere. What appeared to be beautiful old lanterns were securely packed in plastic bags. This was unfortunate as the place lost much of its potential appeal. At least the icons were there in their full glory. A peeping hole in the ground makes you realize why this is actually called the hanging church as it shows the empty space below the building.

Picture of Coptic Cairo (Egypt): Detail of Coptic Church - Cairo
Picture of Coptic Cairo (Egypt): Detail of Coptic Church - Cairo
Picture of Coptic Cairo (Egypt): Cemetery of Coptic Church - Cairo
Picture of Coptic Cairo (Egypt): Detail of Coptic Church - Cairo

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