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Built in 684 CE by a wealthy scribe called Athanasius, this church was originally dedicated to Abu Kir and Yohanna (or St. Cyrus and St. John). When the remains of St. Barbara, (a young maiden of Nicomedia beaten to death by her father for converting into Christianity) were brought here, a separate sanctuary was built. Thus there are now two separate churches here. The remains of St. Catherine, of the famous monastery of the same name, are also to be found here. Modest dress required.
This church was originally built in 684 CE by a wealthy scribe named Athanasius, also credited with the building of the St Cyrus and St John Church. The St George Church burned down over a hundred years ago, leaving only a large wedding hall (Qaat el Irsan). The wedding hall dates from the 14th Century and measures 15 x 12 meters (50 x 40 feet). Notice the lovely windows of carved wood inlaid with ivory on the south wall. Modest dress required.
This, one of the oldest churches in Cairo, is built on the site where the Holy Family allegedly rested at the end of their journey to Egypt. Built in the 4th Century CE, it subsequently burned down in the great fire of Fustat around 750. It was restored in the 8th Century and has been renovated many times since then. The Church is dedicated to St. Sergius and St. Bacchus—two Roman soldier-saints who were martyred during the 4th Century in the reign of Roman Emperor Maximian. The most interesting feature is the crypt where Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus are said to have rested. The crypt is ten meters (33 feet) deep and, when Nile levels are high, is often flooded.
The Hanging Church stands on a site that dates back to the 4th Century. Known as Al-Muallaqah (the Suspended) in Arabic, it takes its name from its location above a city gate in the Roman fortress. This iconic church of Cairo is one of the oldest and is a must-visit site for tourists. It is famous for its various icons, and has 110 works of art, the oldest dating back to the 8th Century. The entry is from Shar'a Mari Girgis Street and via an intricately decorated doorway with artistic carvings and colorful mosaics. The pulpit inside was built in the 11th Century in complete marble with 13 pillars depicting Jesus Christ and his 12 apostles. The nave contains many religious icons and relics, including a 10th-century icon of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. Coptic Mass is held on Fridays and Sundays and is one of the few places where you can hear mass in the ancient liturgical language.
The spiritual serenity of this old convent is astounding. While the main buildings are closed to the public, the nuns can often be seen tending the garden or dusting the corners. Pass the grafitti-stained stone walls to a dark and eerie chapel that contains an icon of Saint George. Remember to remove your shoes if you want to enter the sanctum.
Built in the 9th century, this church is also known as kasriyyat el rihan, which means the "pot of basil." The origin of this name is most probably Greek in origin because the Greek Orthodox faith uses much basil in its ceremonies. It is believed that this name became popular during Caliph el Hakim's reign when the church temporarily passed into the hands of the Greek Orthodox Church. The church contains many valuable icons, including some signed by the famous icon painter, John the Armenian.
The construction, embellishment and restoration of the Religion Compound of Old Cairo is one of the most exciting and ambitious projects to be embraced by the Egyptian Antiquities Authority today. The compound includes monuments from all three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The wonderful little streets of this ancient area are being re-cobbled and several churches and mosques are currently undergoing intensive restoration. Some of the monuments will be closed during your visit. The Compound is built around the ruins of the old Roman Fortress and includes the following and more: Amr Ibn el Aas mosque, Coptic Churh of St. George (Mari Girgis), Greek Chruch of St George, Coptic Nunnery of St. George, Church of the Virgin, the Hanging Church, St Sergius Church, the Coptic Museum, Coptic Cemetery, Ben Ezer Synagogue and the remains of Fort Babylon.
St. Mercurius is known in Coptic Egyptian tradition as the "saint of the two swords." The tradition states that he was given a sword by an angel in order to fight against the barbarians. He was martyred, and after his martyrdom he appeared to Julian the Apostate during a battle against the Persians and pierced him with a sword. He is always represented in Coptic art as a horseman holding two swords. This church, dedicated to him was built in the 6th Century and underwent intensive restoration during the 12th Century. The church is actually comprised of two churches one on top of the other with many little side chapels dedicated to various saints, though they are generally no longer in use.