Hanging Church

Cairo, Egypt

Hanging Church

9.2

Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church (Coptic: ϯⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲛ̀ⲧⲉⲑⲉⲟⲇⲟⲕⲟⲥ ϯⲁⲅⲓⲁ ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ ϧⲉⲛ ⲃⲁⲃⲩⲗⲟⲛ ⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ Church of Mother of God Saint Mary in Egyptian Babylon), also known as the Hanging Church (Arabic: الكنيسة المعلقة, romanized: al-Kanīsa al-Muʿallaqa, Coptic: ϯⲉⲕⲕⲗⲏⲥⲓⲁ ⲉⲥⲓϣⲓ), is one of the oldest churches in Egypt which dates to the third century. It belongs to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

The Hanging Church is named for its location above a gatehouse of Babylon Fortress, the Roman fortress in Coptic Cairo (Old Cairo); its nave is suspended over a passage. The church is approached by twenty-nine steps; early travelers to Cairo dubbed it "the Staircase Church". The land surface has risen by some six metres since the Roman period, so the Roman tower is mostly buried below ground, reducing the visual impact of the church's elevated position.

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