"The Hanging Church" Coptic Cairo - Al-Mu'allaqah Church - Hanging Church Tip by TheWanderingCamel

  Ebony and ivory
by TheWanderingCamel

This church, dedicated to the Virgin, and one of the oldest churches in all Egypt, is alsosurely one of the most beautiful. Originally its nave was suspended over the passage leading through a gatehouse in the walls of the fortress, nowadays in is more conventionally approached by a high staircase leading up from a lovely courtyard. Inside you will find lovely carved ebony screens with delicate ivory inlays - the whole thing constructed like an enormous jigsaw puzzle with neither nails nor pegs to hold it together. The ivory allows the passage of light - the effect is stunning.

The church is full of symbolism - its roof shaped like an upturned hull supported by eight pillars - a reference to Noah and the eight members of his family who sailed on the ark with him. The central pulpit is supported by thirteen pillars - Christ and his disciples - with one pillar carved from black marble representing Judas, Christ's betrayer.

Although the church has been through many rebuildings and restorations, much that is truly ancient remains, including an icon that is reputed to date from the 7th century and some fairly recently discovered frescoes that are being carefully restored.

Once again, recent reports tell of photography no longer being allowed.


Address: At Mari Gerges & Kasr Al Shama'e Cairo, Egypt
Directions: In Coptic Cairo

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 14, 2006
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