Coptic Cairo - Babylon Fortress, Cairo
this will be my pictures of the parts of the Babylon Fortress seen from inside the hanging church.
the hanging church of Cairo is so named as the church was built on the foundations of the Babylon Fortress of which some areas of the Church are hanging along the ruins of the Fortress of which they built supports so that the church would not fall into the excavations of the fortress below. Basically, the church was built in 690 AD,and is situated on two bastions of the Roman fortress and its nave is suspended over a passageway m(you would see it in my pictures). The Church is now the Seat of the Coptic Pope since the 10th century when the enthronement was transferred from nearby Abu Serga Church. Inside the church are various coptic artifacts and pictures of the Coptic Popes and some Coptic Holy Icons.
Admission is Free
opens: 9:00 am to 4:30 pm everyday
according to wikipedia:
The church is approached by 29 steps; early travelers to Cairo dubbed it "the Staircase Church." The land surface has risen by some 6 metres 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 of Cairo got it's name since the church lies part among the ruins of the Old Bablyon Fortress that the Romans Built. The Fortress was built during the reign of the Persian Empire in the 6th Century BC and was rebuilt by the Romans as a means of Guarding the Western Bank of the Nile in the 4rth century and it was renamed babylon fortress. This attraction is also known as Qasr el Shamee or the candles palace as the towers of the fort were adorned with illuminated candles at the beginning of every month, thus people could follow the movement of the sun from one tower to another. Six Coptic churches, a convent and the Coptic Museum are actually within the enclosure of the fortress. you can view the remains of the fortress just beside the coptic musuem and parts of it inside the hanging church.
What remain of the Babylon Fortress is that round structure right beside the Mar Girgis Metro Station. Just beside the entrance gate to the Coptic Museum. The fortress is the city's oldest original structure and where some of the oldest coptic churches were built on its walls.
According to history, Babylon is the name of the capital of Egypt's neighboring country -- I was thinkin' bout Babylon in Iraq, I may be wrong, as the first fort was built by the Persians (present day Iran). I dunno really. Due to water difficulty, the fort was relocated byt the then roman emperor Trajan at its present location which used to be only bwside the Nile river.
The fortress is still impressive today, though at first sight I thought it was just an ordinary abandoned building of sort, until I've found out the story, and like in a film, the structure slowly developed into full colour on me.
Go there afternoon until just before the sun set, the whole area has this rustic feeling -- sumthin' bout the sun streaks on the old structures...really.
Our first stop is the Fortress of Babylon built here by the Romans. The plaque outside is written in both Arabic and the Cryptic language.
At one time as many as twenty churches were built in this small one square mile area. Today only 5 remain.
Coptic-Old Cairo was built on the remains of the Roman Fortress known as Babylon. The remains of it's walls can still be found. That also is the case in the surroundings of the Ben Ezra's Synagogue. It is very hard to differ these remains from other walls uless someone show them to you as all the walls look very old.
No, I have not mistaken the country. I mean another Babylon - the Roman fortress standing just opposite the railway station. It was built under the rule of Trajan. Why such an extraordinary name? It is said that some of the slaves brought from the original Babylon provoked unrest and took it.