The Hanging Church, Cairo

The Hanging Church, Cairo (must see)

The Hanging Church gets its name from being located above an old Roman Gatehouse in Cairo. Its nave hangs over a passage. The real name of the Church is Sitt Mariam or St. Mary’s Church.

The Hanging Church is the best-known Coptic Church in Cairo. The Coptic church is one of the early Eastern Orthodox Churches which once had its seat in Alexandria. Today, the Hanging Church is the official residence of the Coptic Pope. It was built in the 7th century and it is believed that there were churches on the site from the 3rd or 4th centuries. It has been rebuilt several times in particular in the 10th century by the Patriarch Abraham.

The Hanging Church has a beautiful courtyard flanked by religious mosaics. The marble pulpit has thirteen pillars representing Jesus and the 12 apostles. It is famous for its icons and the oldest one is from the 8th century. The eastern end has three sanctuaries dedicated to the Virgin Mary, St. George and St. John the Baptist. The sanctuary screen dates back to the 12th or 13th centuries and is made of ebony inlaid with ivory. It has a row of seven large icons. The left screen has 17 icons and the right screen has 7 small icons on the top. The church is a thriving place of worship and important celebrations like the enthronement of patriarchs take place here.

Go through the door in the wall on the right to enter a half-round part of the church built directly over one of the Roman gate's defensive towers, and from which a window allows you to look down sideways at the gate itself (which is fairly impressive). You can also catch another outside glimpse of the gate and the church on top of it if you walk past the street entrance to the south-west corner of the compound.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Cairo. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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The Hanging Church on Map

Sight Name: The Hanging Church
Sight Location: Cairo, Egypt (See walking tours in Cairo)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Cairo, Egypt

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Create Your Own Walk in Cairo

Creating your own self-guided walk in Cairo is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
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The area occupied by present-day Cairo has been the center of Egypt since the days of the pharaohs. The strategic location at the base of the Nile River delta first hosted the town of Memphis, the epicenter of trade, culture, and religion. By the fourth century, Memphis was in decline, and the Romans established the Babylon fortress. The Babylon is the oldest structure in the city today. When the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles

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