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Sightseein - The Hanging Church

The Hanging Church
The Coptic Quarter
Old Cairo (Misr El-Qadima)
Mari Girguis Metro Station
Mass: Friday from 8-11 am and Sunday from 7-10 am

The Hanging Church (El Muallaqa, Sitt Mariam, St Mary) is built on top of southern tower gate of the Babylon fortress, thus the name, which literally translates from Arabic into 'suspended'.

The church was built and rebuilt a number of times, first in the 3rd or 4th century and finally in the 11th century when it became the seat of the Coptic patriarch until the 14th century.



The church has seven sanctuaries, six off the side aisles and one in the Church of St. Mark's on the upper level. Joint to the Hanging Church are six churches and a monastery.

Some of the finest examples of old craftsmanship can be seen in the Hanging Church: screens, pulpits and columns, in cedar, ebony and walnut inlaid with ivory, and in marble .The Hanging Church houses a collection of over one hundred icons, including one of the Virgin and Child dating back to the 10th century, the oldest of which dates from the 8th Century. Many icons, manuscripts and artifacts belonging to the church have been moved to the Coptic Museum over time.

In testament to the church's historical and religious value, UNESCO donated 50 million Egyptian Pounds some years ago for restoration work in the church, which was on the verge of collapse from rising groundwater.

Today, the Hanging Church is one of the few places were mass can be heard in the ancient liturgical Coptic language, which is believed to be the closest to the that spoken in ancient Egyptian.

Plan one day for your tour of the Coptic Quarter, including the Hanging Church. As in all other places of worship, modest dress is required.





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