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 once the seat of 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 layer of stones that served as the ground/foundation of the church.
To reach the church, you have to pass through 29 steps. Thus, it once earned the monicker as the ‘Staircase Church.”
Up the stairs is a narrow doorway that leads to a small courtyard.
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.
Related: The Cave Church at Muqattam Mountain
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.”
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