Hanging Church (Arabic: الكنيسة المعلقة, romanized: al-Kanīsa al-Muʿallaqa), is one of the oldest churches in Egypt which dates to the third century. It belongs to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.
The Hanging Church was probably built during the patriarchate of Isaac (690–692). Though an earlier church building may have elsewhere existed 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 (831–849), when the governor of Egypt visited the establishment. Pope Abraham largely rebuilt the church (975–978) and many other restorations including an extensive repair and restoration of the church and its surroundings completed in 2011. Objects of historical interest that were no longer of service went to the Coptic Museum. A set of 10 wooden panels from a door at the church that were engraved with Christian iconography in 1300 AD can be found in the British Museum.
Description of Hanging Church
The Hanging Church, also known as the Church of the Virgin Mary, is a Coptic Orthodox church in Old Cairo. It is one of the oldest churches in Egypt for its unique architectural style and rich history.
The church gets its name from its location on the west bank of the Nile, near the Citadel. Engineers built it on top of an ancient Roman fortress. The foundations of the fortress can still be seen in the church’s basement. Significantly, the church’s location on the edge of the cliff gives it a unique appearance, with its facade hanging over the edge of the cliff and its three entrance doors facing east, south, and north.
The church’s interior is with beautiful murals and icons, many of which date back to the 7th century AD. In fact, the most notable feature of the church is its iconostasis. It is a wall of icons that separates the nave from the altar.
Today, the Hanging Church is a popular tourist attraction and is open to visitors who wish to explore its history. It is also an important place of worship for the Coptic Orthodox Church, and services held there regularly. The church is a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of Egypt.