ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Posts tagged “Tutankhamen

COPTIC HANGING CHURCH, Cairo, Egypt

2006.05.29.

Built upon the 3rd century ruined gate of the Roman fortress, layers of palm tree logs and stones were used to construct the foundation for the Hanging Church. Probably the most famous church in Coptic Cairo, the Hanging Church is also one of the oldest. Between 7th and 13th century, the Hanging Church was the residence of the Coptic Patriarch. Although much of what we see today of the church’s exterior is from the 19th century, many of the interior architectural features and objects date back to various periods in history, including the 110 Christian icons in which the oldest dates back to the 8th century. Some parts of the church was off limits to tourists during our visit, but nonetheless the Hanging Church was the highlight of our visit of Coptic Cairo.

After Coptic Cairo, we spent much of the afternoon at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the huge museum filled with treasures from ancient Egypt since 1901. The exhibits seemed disorienting at times, though its collection of the 120,000 ancient Egypt artefacts, such as papyrus, stone statues, jewellery, royal mummies (famous pharaohs such as Ramses II), and funeral accessories were truly magnificent. The most impressive of all was undoubtedly the treasures of the tomb of boy King Tutankhamen. According to plan, the Cairo’s Egyptian Museum would be replaced by the new Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza in 2021. Unfortunately, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic would likely affect the visitor numbers for the new museum at its grand opening.

Leaving the museum, we strolled along the Nile and saw a few felucca owners cleaning their boats. We didn’t have the interest to hire a felucca. Instead, we headed to Cafe Niche for a quick bite. Back at Luna Hotel, my two travel buddies rested a bit before heading to the train station for their quick visit of Upper Egypt. For me, I thought more time would be needed for a decent visit of Luxor and Aswan in Upper Egypt. Instead, I planned to spend the remaining few days in Egypt on my own. My destination was off the beaten track at Siwa Oasis and the Western Desert.

The Hanging Church is one of the most important Coptic Church in Cairo.
Built upon the remains of the southern gate of a Roman fortress, the Hanging Church is situated on a raised platform accessible via a staircase of 29 steps.
Touches of fine details at the forecourt provided us a preview of the beautiful interior.
Massive fabric were set up over the courtyard of the Hanging Church, probably for shading during religious gatherings.
The Coptic Cross is a symbol of faith for the Copts. Some Copts would have the Coptic cross tattooed at their right wrist.
The original 7th century building has been renovated numerous times in history. The exterior facade was mainly constructed in the 19th century.
The wooden barrel vault in reference to the structure of Noah’s ark was a captivating.
In October 2014, the Hanging Church was inaugurated after a 16-year restoration. In 2006 during our visit, a number of places were off limits to visitors.
Even the wooden benches in the Hanging Church are decorated with the Coptic Cross.