Heavenly Joy in Coptic Cairo, Egypt 콥틱 카이로에는 삶의 기쁨이 충만합니다

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Coptic Cairo

Coptic Cairo

Photos by Kim So Young 

In Egypt there’s a place that makes you feeling you are in Jerusalem’s Old City. It is called ‘Coptic Cairo’ and it is located in the oldest part of Cairo. Old Coptic Cairo is the historical center and in the home of Cairo’s Coptic Christian community. When Jews were fleeing from Judea and King Herod, some found refuge here in Coptic Cairo. It is believed that there was a settlement here as early as the 6th century BC. The compound lies within the walls of a Roman fortress of Babylon.

The Romans established a fortress here known today as ‘Babylon’. Some of the Roman walls still exist. The churches here are still frequented by members of the local Christian community. Visitors and local Christians come here to light candles and pray. This ancient holy place is peaceful and quite. The churches do not charge admission except the Coptic Museum. Donations are welcomed. Visitors should wear long pants and cover their shoulders. The churches and the museum are open to the public from 9 AM to 5 PM.


Hanging Church

Hanging Church

Haning Church - inside

Haning Church – inside

Hanging Church - Inside

Hanging Church – Inside

The Hanging Church
The Hanging Church is the most famous Coptic Christian church in Cairo. This church is called the ‘Hanging’ or ‘Suspended’ Church because it was built on top of the Water Gate of Roman Babylon. The original structure was built as early as the 4th century AD and rebuilt in the 11th century. The church is still used for public services, which are held every Friday and Sunday morning.


Convent of St George - Entrance

Convent of St George – Entrance

Convent of St George - Chapel

Convent of St George – Chapel

The Convent of St George
The Convent is closed to visitors, but the chapel where there is a shrine containing a famed icon of St George is open to the public. The Convent is also known for the chain-wrapping ritual. The chains symbolize the persecution of St George. The local Christian regularly come here to light candles and say prayers.


Church of St George - a small cave-like room

Church of St George – a small cave-like room

Church of St George

Church of St George

The Church of St. George
The St. George is one of the region’s most popular Christian saints. The church was originally built in 684 A.D. and rebuilt in 1857 A.D. This rounded church has been Greek Orthodox since the fifteenth century. The instruments of torture used on St George have been put on display. A small cave-like room is believed to be the place where Mary would pray.


Church of St Barbara

Church of St Barbara

Roman Tower

Roman Tower

Other things to See

  • Coptic Museum
  • Greek Orthodox Monastery
  • Church of St. Barbara
  • Church of St. Sergius
  • Ben Ezra Synagogue
  • Roman Tower

Getting There
The easiest way to get here is by metro. Mar Girgis station is located outside the Coptic Cairo compound. This place is not far from Midan Tahrir Square. From anywhere in downtown a cheap taxi fare make it quite accessible.


profile111Contributor, Kim So Young 

World traveller. Photographer. Writer. She has lived and travelled in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Currently she resides in Cairo, Egypt. All she needs to live her life on is my suitcase, backpack, camera, and favorite book collection.

문화월간지 출신의 프리랜서 기자인 김소영은 현재 세계 곳곳을 여행하며 삶의 캔버스를 넓혀가고 있다. 담담하지만 날카로운 그녀의 글과 사진을 컬쳐엠매거진이 공개한다.

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