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Hanging Church

Hanging ChurchBuilt by the Romans 2100 years ago, El Mouallaqa Church is also known as the “Hanging Church” because of its location on top of the south gate of the Roman fortress of Babylon. Its nave is suspended over a passage that leads into the castle between 2 bastions. Its architectural style includes (wood in the ceilings) and oriels (arabesques and lattice glass). The Mandatum Tank sunk in the floor of the nave was used for the foot-washing ceremony on the Feast Day of St. Peter and St. Paul. Al-Mouallaqa contains icons of the martyrdom of St. George and of St. John the Baptist done by the artist John the Armenian.

Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church also known as the Hanging Church (El Muallaqa) is one of the oldest churches in Egypt and the history of a church on this site dates to the 3rd century AD
The Hanging (The Suspended) Church is named for its location above a gatehouse of Babylon Fortress, the Roman fortress in Coptic Cairo (Old Cairo); its nave is suspended over a passage. The church is approached by 29 steps; early travelers to Cairo dubbed it "the Staircase Church." The land surface has risen by some 6 meters since the Roman period so that the Roman tower is mostly buried below ground, reducing the visual impact of the church's elevated position. The entrance from the street is through iron gates under a pointed stone arch. The nineteenth century facade with twin bell towers is then seen beyond a narrow courtyard decorated with modern art biblical designs. Up the steps and through the entrance is a further small courtyard leading to the eleventh century outer porch

The Hanging Church is the most famous Coptic Christian church in Cairo, as well as possibly the first built in Basilicas style. It was probably built during the patriarchate of Isaac (690-92), though an earlier church building may have existed elsewhere dating as early as the 3rd or 4th century. However, the earliest mention of the church was a statement in the biography of the patriarch Joseph I (831-49), when the governor of Egypt visited the establishment. The church was largely rebuilt by the Pope Abraham (975-78) and has seen many other restorations including one very recently, after which objects of historical interest that were no longer of service went to the Coptic Museum.

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