Finding a place like the Coptic Quarter in a city like Cairo is undeniably surprising. The Copts are the Egyptians who follow the Christian religion.
Therefore, finding this neighborhood in a city where Muslim mosques predominate is undoubtedly a peculiar fact.
The majority of Coptic Christians in Egypt live in this curious neighborhood and it is a neighborhood, practically isolated from the rest of the city, with narrow cobbled streets with numerous street stalls selling books, jewelry and paintings.
What to see in the Coptic Quarter
To enter the Coptic quarter there are two entrances. The main one is where all the tourist groups enter and can make a visit to the neighborhood lose its charm.
But there is another less crowded and that is the one that is recommended to visit the neighborhood without stress.
The neighborhood enclosure has different churches where the Coptic rite is followed and you also have the Coptic museum. The main points of interest in the Coptic quarter are the following:
- Hanging Church. It is the most famous neighborhood church and is also the oldest Christian church in the city. It is also known as Iglesia de Santa María and dates back to the 4th century. It receives the name of “hanging” since you have to climb a staircase to access it and it is raised above the ground. Its 13 interior pillars stand out, representing Jesus and his apostles. It can be visited every day from dawn to 4:00 p.m., with free admission.
- Church of Saint Sergius. It was built in the 5th century in a cave where the Holy Family is said to have taken refuge during their flight to Egypt. Its Corinthian capitals stand out and everything is built of marble and wood. And above all, the cave in which the Holy Family took refuge fleeing from King Herod stands out. You can visit from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Church of Santa Barbara. It contains the relics of a girl tortured and murdered in the 11th century, Saint Barbara, for refusing to marry the man her father had chosen. It is open for your visit from 8am to 4pm.
- Saint George Monastery. It is known as Deir-Al-Banat and dates back to around the 7th century when it was built on the old fortress of Babylon. Keep the chains of Saint George for which not only Christians but also Muslims have devotion. You can also visit from 8am to 4pm.
- Coptic Museum. It is located in what was the garden of the old fortress of Babylon and inside it can be seen, in addition to different Coptic pieces and objects, the famous Nag Hammadi Manuscripts, dating from the 3rd or 4th century. The museum can be visited from 9am to 5pm and the entrance fee is 80LE.
How to get to the Coptic Quarter
To get to the Coptic Quarter it is possible to use the metro. The closest stop is Mar Girgis. But taking into account the little use for the tourist of the metro in Cairo, because it does not reach almost any tourist place or hotels, and the inconveniences that entails using it, it is best to go by taxi, as to almost anywhere in Cairo..