You might have heard of the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” but you’ve never heard of the Hanging Church in Cairo. The former was one of the 7 Wonders of the World, while the latter was once the seat of the papacy of the Orthodox Church. This tiny church is known for its apparitions where Mary appeared to Pope Abraham.
Why Hanging Church?
The Church is built over two Roman towers called Babylon Fortress. However today, you won’t be able to see much of the tower since the land surface has risen to some 6 meters. The towers were covered with logs of palm trees with layers of stones that served as the ground/foundation of the church.
The Hanging Church in Cairo isn’t big in size. One full bus of tourists is already very crowded.
To reach the church, you have to pass through 29 steps. Thus, it once earned the moniker the ‘Staircase Church.”
Up the stairs is a narrow doorway that leads to a small courtyard.
Then you’ll find these doors to the marvelous Hanging Church in Cairo.
There are 110 icons inside that date back to the 8th century.
The church towers are cordoned off to visitors.
If you look up, the wooden roof looks like an inverted ark (remember, Noah’s ark?).
The 13 marbled pillars that support the church represent Christ and his 12 apostles.
On the eastern side of the Church, you’ll find three sanctuaries devoted to St John the Baptist, Virgin Mary and St George. You’ll also find here the original foundation of the tower covered in glass.
The Miracle at the Church
It’s believed that Mary, the Mother of Christ, appeared inside this Church. The miracle is attributed to the story of Coptic Pope Abraham who fasted and prayed to the Virgin for three days. As a result, the nearby Muqattam Mountain moved.
Because of the apparition, the church is named Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church. But because of its unique architectural feat, the church is more known as “The Hanging Church.”
How to Save Time and Money in Cairo
Cairo is still cheap. In fact, Egypt is the second cheapest country I’ve ever been to. However, taking public transport is a challenge – crowded and hot. If you’re a solo traveler and you’re up for it, then, I’d recommend you to do it. Taxi? Good luck! It’s either the driver will pretend to take the shorter route or fooling you with the meter. Both happened to me. And not to mention bad driving skills. 😂
On the other hand, if you have little time in Cairo and you want so much to explore – join a tour! It’s more informative and hassle-free from harassment in public transport and avoids the scorching heat.
How to get to the Hanging Church in Cairo
It’s so easy to get there. Take the Metro and get off at Mar Girgis. In front of the exit, you’ll find a stone arched gate in full view.
Hostel / Hotel in Cairo
Egypt is cheap. So I treated myself by staying in a hotel. Cairo Capital Plaza is not a five-star hotel, but they’re well-liked by travelers as they’re in downtown Cairo and the staff members are nice. They have free wifi and breakfast was ok good for me. It’s also accessible to the subway/metro station. The hotel also offers a shuttle service to and from the airport which makes it easy for your arrival and departure. You can book it via Booking and Expedia. If you’re looking for a nice hostel, The Australian Hostel is highly recommended by a friend who had stayed there. You can book it via Booking or HostelWorld.
Stay in Giza With Views of the Pyramids
Well, if you are on a budget, there are two guest