The Hanging Church in Cairo – Virgin Mary Appeared Here

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 - Virgin Mary Appeared Here (Egypt).
The Hanging Church in Cairo – Virgin Mary Appeared Here (Egypt).
The Hanging Church in Cairo isn’t big in size. One full bus of tourists is already very crowded.
The Hanging Church in Cairo - Virgin Mary Appeared Here (Egypt).
The Hanging Church in Cairo – Virgin Mary Appeared Here (Egypt).

To reach the church, you have to pass through 29 steps. Thus, it once earned the moniker the ‘Staircase Church.”

The Hanging Church in Cairo - Virgin Mary Appeared Here (Egypt).
The Hanging Church in Cairo – Virgin Mary Appeared Here (Egypt).

Up the stairs is a narrow doorway that leads to a small courtyard.

The Hanging Church in Cairo - Virgin Mary Appeared Here (Egypt).
The Hanging Church in Cairo – Virgin Mary Appeared Here (Egypt).
Then you’ll find these doors to the marvelous Hanging Church in Cairo.
The Hanging Church in Cairo - Virgin Mary Appeared Here (Egypt).
The Hanging Church in Cairo – Virgin Mary Appeared Here (Egypt).

There are 110 icons inside that date back to the 8th century.

Islamic and Coptic History in Cairo (Egypt).
Islamic and Coptic History in Cairo (Egypt).

The church towers are cordoned off to visitors.

Islamic and Coptic History in Cairo (Egypt).
Islamic and Coptic History in Cairo (Egypt).

If you look up, the wooden roof looks like an inverted ark (remember, Noah’s ark?).

Islamic and Coptic History in Cairo (Egypt).
Islamic and Coptic History in Cairo (Egypt).

The 13 marbled pillars that support the church represent Christ and his 12 apostles.

Islamic and Coptic History in Cairo (Egypt).
Islamic and Coptic History in Cairo (Egypt).

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.

Things to do and see in Cairo (Egypt).
Things to do and see in Cairo (Egypt).

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.

Things to do and see in Cairo (Egypt).
Things to do and see in Cairo (Egypt).

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.”

Things to do and see in Cairo (Egypt).
Things to do and see in Cairo (Egypt).

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 houses/accommodations I’d recommend: Giza Pyramids View Guest House, Giza Pyramids Inn, and Comfort Pyramids Inn. All these three guesthouses have the views of the pyramids. If you can afford a bit more, Jimmy’s Pyramids Views and Marvel Stone Hotel will suit you.

KeepCalmAndWander

A wanderer. A frustrated photographer. Hiker. Lover. Half extrovert, half introvert. Solo traveler.

no comment

Leave a reply

KEEP CALM and WANDER