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The Hanging Church

The Hanging Church

The Hanging church goes back to the 3rd century AD and is built on the ruins of two old towers. These towers are the remains from the Fortress of Babylon. This is precisely why it is called the Hanging Church, as it lays suspended between the two towers. The church is dedicated to The Virgin Mary and St Dimiana and is supposed to be oldest church in Old Cairo.

The church, though is one of the oldest, has undergone renovation several times. It seems this church had a major role to play in the history of Coptic Church. It was the 66th patriarch Anba Christodolos who chanted the Holy Liturgy in the church during 1039-1079 AD. The Hanging Church is home to several icons - most of them are very old and go back to 8th century. Most of these icons have been have been received as gifts.

The church is in the shape of a basilica and its roof is made of wood and sports the shape of Noah's Ark. Initially, the church was very spacious but years of renovations and modifications have reduced the space. Today, the church is 23.5 m long, 18.5 broad and 9.5 m tall. There are steps leading to the entrance in the middle -the entrance has on both the sides doors that lead to the upper floors. In front of the entrance, you will find a place which was used as the resting place in those days. The northern and southern aisle is separated from the central area of the church by eight marble columns. In the middle of the southern aisle, there is a door that leads to a small church, which has a deep basin of red granite. This church dates back to the 5th century.

Towards the eastern side are three sanctuaries - of which the most important is the middle one that is dedicated to Virgin Mary. Towards the centre of the sanctuary is a marble altar, above which is a wooden dome held together by four decorated marble columns. There are also seven altars in the church - three of which are located in the main sanctuary and the other three on the right.

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