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Discovering Coptic Cairo: A Journey Through Egypt’s Christian Heritage

Coptic Cairo is the only part of the city where there are so many Christian churches and other sites from when Egypt was mostly Christian, between the end of the Pharaonic and the start of the Islamic religion.

Coptic Cairo was mainly built on top of what was left of the walls of Babylon’s fortress.

People didn’t start living in the Cairo area where the city center is now. Old Cairo, on the city’s southern edge, is where the first part of the modern part grew up.

This was the end of an old canal that linked the Nile to the Red Sea more than two hundred years ago. Because of its strategic location, the first settlements in the area grew up around it.

The river has changed and is now a few hundred meters further west. But the original stretch still has historical sites, many of which date back to when Egypt was converted to Christianity during the Greco-Roman period.

Archaeological evidence shows that people started living in the area just before 600 A.D. Around the year 525, the fortress of Babylon was built on the canal’s edge, the border between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.

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Later, the Romans built a massive fortress on the same spot, which is still there today and helps build other places. The thick wall of the Roman fort, which has white and red bricks, can still be seen from the Mar Girgis subway station exit or along the same-named road in Coptic Cairo.

During the battle that marked the Muslim takeover of Egypt, the Muslim army led by Amr Ibn Al Aas surrounded the fortress.

Many Christian and Muslim eras buildings are in the old part of Cairo. Here you can find the Al Azhar Mosque.

Coptic Egypt

Coptic Cairo

Here is the Coptic Museum, which holds the next world’s collection of Coptic Christian stories. The museum, which has been around since 1910, tells the story of the Coptic Christian religion from the beginning of Christianity to the time of the Ottoman Empire. It has an extensive collection of artifacts from Egypt, Greece, Rome, Byzantium, and the Ottoman Empire.

Also, there are six churches from the early days of Christianity. The Church of the Virgin Mary, also called the Suspended Church, was built on top of the walls of the Fort of Babylon in the 9th century. This ” suspension ” effect is much less intense because of the ground-level growth around the walls.

There are a lot of churches in Coptic Cairo. One is St. Sergius’ Church, which dates back to the 5th century and was likely built on a tomb where Jesus, Mary, and Joseph took refuge in Egypt.

About the author

Egypt Planners Team is a highly experienced travel agency specializing in memorable trips to Egypt. The team comprises expert travel planners and tour guides with a deep knowledge of Egypt's history, culture, and top tourist destinations.