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Old Cairo

Old Cairo

Cairo is an impressive city with a mix of the new and the old. And even though Cairo is one of the most highly populated cities in the region, it once was not such a bustling urban jungle. Come and discover more about Old Cairo with us.

What is Old Cairo?

Cairo was established by the Fatimid Dynasty in 969 AC. The city began where what is known today as Old Cairo, but in that time swallowed up other cities such as Fustat and al-Askar. The location turned into a heritage centre for Muslims, Christians and Jews with many early Coptic Christian churches, synagogues, and mosques erected all over—featuring monuments that are some of the oldest in Egypt and even in the world.

The old part of the city started to cramp up as the city continued growing beyond its originally borders and the new region was penned Modern Cairo, where people started to move in troves. However, Old Cairo never lost its significance and stll remains as an historical site that attracts a plethora of visitors from around the world.

Where is Old Cairo?

The area known as Old Cairo is a small part of the massive city situated south of the centre, close to Corniche el Nile.

What should I visit in Old Cairo?

Old Cairo is a place to immerse yourself in history and culture with various sites that fuse Christian influence and Islam's presence in the country.

In Coptic Cairo there are many Christian churches dating back several centuries ago. There are six ancient ones that date back to the era of early Christianity, such as Church of St. Sergius which was supposedly built upon the crypt where the Holy Family found shelter during their visit in Egypt.

The Hanging Church is also referred to as the Suspended Church or the Church of Virgin Mary. It was built in 690 AD on the gate of the now buried Roma fortress. For more than five centuries, the church acted as the official residence of the Coptic Patriarch. Most of its items were taken to the Coptic Museum, which was founded in 1908. It exhibits a massive collection of artefacts that offer valuable insights into the period that Christianity ruled the country under the Roman Empire. Other churches that you should pay a visit to are St John the Baptist, St George Church, and The Church of St. Barbara.

Next you should visit Ben Ezra Synagogue, the oldest Jewish temple in Cairo. It is open only as a touristic attraction but holds great meaning to the Jewish community.

The Babylon Fortress is another splendid attraction in Old Cairo. The original fortress was built in 30 BC as part of the city's defense system. When the Romans brought Christianity to Egypt in the first century AD, the surrounding area became an important religious site. The remains we see now are from the second century, when a new fortress was erected.

Islamic Heritage in Old Cairo

Old Cairo holds a rich Islamic heritage, such as Amr Ibn Al-Aas Mosque, named after the general who brought Islam to Egypt. Old Cairo neighbors Fustat because of Saladin’s goal to surround both cities when building the Citadel, conjoining them. It is where Amr Ibn Al-Aas' troops set up a military quarter, and in spite of the religious differences, the cities became more connected. Even though most of the original mosque has been reconstructed, the location still holds a significant religious value to worshippers and travelers alike.

How to go to Coptic Cairo?

You can get there by private car, cab or metro (Mr Girgis Station). Most of attraction open at 9am and close at 5pm.

Is it worth to visit Old Cairo?

A visit to Cairo would not be complete without a visit to the historic Old Cairo.

Islamic Cairo

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