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Cairo: History
Roman Cairo

The Hanging church

Old Cairo is the Christian center of the modern city, and churches of great antiquity still stand here.

One of the most impressive is the Hanging church (al-Mu'allaqa), so called because of its position suspended over the south gate of the fort.

The original church on this site was founded during the fourth century; the current building may date from as early as the seventh century, but it was rebuilt in 977AD and heavily restored in the nineteenth century.

It was badly damaged in the 1992 earthquake, which affected many of Cairo's medieval buildings, and both it and the nearby Coptic museum are still covered in scaffolding.

The church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, contains an eleventh-century pulpit, a thirteenth-century ebony and ivory screen and many medieval icons and murals, the oldest of which dates from the eighth century. Many of the artifacts from this church are displayed in the Coptic Museum.
(Alison Gascoigne)


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