Current Time


see + do

View As:
‹ Previous | Next ›

Editors' Pick
Save For Later

Coptic Museum and Old Cairo, Cairo

Cairo, Egypt, Africa + Middle East: The Hanging Church, probably the loveliest of Cairo's Coptic churches.
Off Mari Girgis Street
Tel: 20 2 363 9742
view web site ›'s insider take:

Situated in two early-20th-century buildings within the walled Roman fortress of Babylon, the Coptic Museum contains such artifacts as funeral stelae carved with Coptic inscriptions, manuscripts, icons, textiles, and examples of ivory, wood, pottery, and glass. A bridge between the art of ancient Egypt and the Islamic era, Coptic imagery often fuses deities and motifs from the Pharaonic and Roman eras. The museum's most moving objects are frescoes found in monastery prayer niches, for example, a sixth-century image of Jesus being suckled by Mary in an echo of the Egyptian goddess Isis suckling Osiris three millennia earlier.

Just down the street from the museum lies Old Cairo, the local name for the original Coptic quarter. A warren of Roman-era walls, narrow alleys, churches, and the restored Ben Ezra Synagogue, the neighborhood evokes the Cairo of a simpler, pre-skyscraper age—not to mention showcasing the quite striking environment (these days) of Jews, Arabs, and Christians living together in relative peace in a Middle Eastern city. Morning mass in the Coptic language is held in the churches of Old Cairo on Friday, Sunday, and religious holidays. The elaborate Hanging Church is a three-part basilica dating to the seventh century and has the most seating. Art and history lovers should head for the dark and gloomy fourth-century church of St. Sergius, which displays icons, silver chandeliers, and votives left by ancient pilgrims who visited the crypt where the holy family is said to have stayed during its flight into Egypt. To see the faith in action, go to St. George's Chapel. Set in a Mamluk-era palace, the chapel contains an ancient iron collar and chain associated with the saint (the story of Saint George and the dragon has origins in the pharaonic myth of Horus slaying Seth, a desert monster). Every day you'll see worshippers lining up to touch and kiss the relics, still believed to have healing properties.

Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

User Reviews

write a review ›

Be the first to write a review of Coptic Museum and Old Cairo and share your tips with the community.

Write a Review
*The Daily Traveler: The day's best travel tips, secrets, and news that won't wait.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement, Privacy Policy, and Mobile Terms and Conditions.

iPhone App:

Create personalized postcards out of your favorite travel photos!

Learn More ›
Subscribe to our free RSS feeds:

Get the latest destinations picks, hot hotel lists, travel deals and blog posts automatically added to your newsreader or your personalized homepage.

Learn More ›


Special Advertisement

Contests, Sweepstakes & Promotions


Send  to your phone!

Don’t show this box again.
This information will be sent directly to your phone and waiting for you in a text message. Simple click on the url in that message or browse on your phone.
Need more help? Our FAQ may contain the answer you need.
Never want to type in your cell phone number again?
Register now with and you'll be able to save your number and enjoy other great features like this.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement , Privacy Policy, and mobile terms and conditions. Standard text messaging rates apply.