The Magnificent Hanging Church
Famously called the Hanging Church, El Muallaqa, a frequented Egyptian tourist spot, is Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church. It is one of the oldest Egyptian churches whose history has been touted to be as old as 3 AD. Located in Cairo, the hanging church is the most famous Coptic chuck in the capital due to its rich history, cultural significance, and magnificent architecture. The first Basilican-style church of Egypt has been mentioned in patriarch Joseph I's (831–49) biography. It was Pope Abraham who oversaw most of the construction of the church and extensive restoration of the sacred building was performed in 2011. Some objects that didn’t have any religious or historical value to the church can be found at the Coptic Museum.
A Fantastic Historical Attraction
One of the most fantastic historical attractions in Egypt, the Hanging Church is also the site of numerous reports of the Apparitions of Mary. The sacred church is also called the Suspended Church due to its location as it is built over the Babylon Fortress which was the Roman fortress in old Cairo. Several early travelers also called it the staircase church because of the twenty-nine steps that you have to climb to cover the passage. Erstwhile, there used to be a roman tower under the church however, since those times (centuries ago), the land surface has gone above by almost six meters which led to a reduced appearance of the tower.
Counted among the most fantastic historical attractions in Egypt, the Hanging Church receives visitors from distinct parts of the world. Not only it is a major religious spot, but the church is also a significant tourism, architectural and historical site. It is reminiscent of the roman era and stands as a grand gateway to the mystical world that existed centuries back. Dedicated to the great Virgin Mary, the church is also known by a different name, Sitt Mariam (St. Mary’s Church).
The Entrance to the Church is through a well-adorned gate on Shari'a Mari Girgis Street and the stellar gate looks incredibly beautiful from even far away. At the entrance, the church has an open courtyard with several mosaics, and finally, you have to climb the 29 steps that have numerous geometric patterns, and decorative carvings designs. Majestically built, this church is famous among people of all religions due to its spectacular marble pulpit, 110 icons, and grand murals. The roof (made out of timber) recalls a graphical depiction of Noah’s Ark.
Whether you are intrigued by religious monuments or not, the Hanging church will not fail to impress you. It is much more than a religious symbol and is one of Egypt’s oldest sites its attachment to the roman fortress makes it even more of a ‘must-visit site in Egypt. So, when traveling to Egypt, be sure to include a stroll to the suspended church in your itinerary along with excursions to the laidback Dahab and relaxing Abu Simbel, and educating visits to Luxor and Aswan Temples.