It is surely quiet puzzling to understand completely the different sides and many overlapping details and stories of Egypt's more than five thousand years old history. Troubles the brain for sure, although in a good way.
Yet, there is one place or better say a collective of sites, which simply bears a connection between the end of the Pharaonic period and the beginning of the Islamic age. That place is the one and only Coptic Cairo. For centuries this historical neighborhood has been home to an amazing Christian community.
The closest subway station to the holy area is one named Mar Girgis (named after Saint George "Prince of the Martyrs". From the station you can walk or take a cab to the center of Coptic Cairo. Below are some of the sites you cannot miss if you're there.
The Hanging Church
One of the most wonderful places you can see in Coptic Cairo is Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church which was constructed over the old Babylon wall (Roman Fortress). That is actually part of the reason it got the title "Hanging Church" for as a matter of fact most of the church resides on one of the gates of Babylon (the southern tower gate to be precise).
Till our date the Hanging church is running, fully with a structure that is believed to date back to the 5 th century AD. Having said that, there have been many efforts aiming to preserve it and keep it full of life and amazement, via continuous renovations for instance.
The Hanging church comprises seven sanctuaries as well as alters devoted to the Virgin Mary, St John, St John the Baptist and St. Mar Girgis. It is well known for being the seat of the Coptic patriarchate from the 11th century to the 14t.h . There are also several beautiful icons of Christ, the Virgin Mary, Archangel Gabriel and St. Peter.
Old Roman fortress
The Roman walls are the first thing you will observe upon leaving the Mar Girgis metro station on your right. Also called the Babylon fortress (by the Romans) , the walls were built by the Romans during the 2nd century. The fortress actually extended a long the neighborhood, and remains of them can be seen until today. The western gate of Babylon fortress had rounded towers that were built in 98 AD. Both the western and southern gates of the Roman walls are considered among the oldest buildings in the capital of Egypt.
After the Greeks, came the Romans, whose empire was based in Alexandria too. Despite that, Cairo got a share of the attention too for resembled in the construction of the Babylon fortress, as they envisioned it would be capable of protecting and securing the eastern borders of Egypt from any conquerors or rebels.
Actually, the tall fortress once manipulate all the trading activity and traffic along the River Nile.
It was built on land of 1.25 square kilometers area, and you can still visit the ruins of the massive fortress today. Inside it there are the six historical churches and the Coptic museum.
There is not charge or fee for visiting or taking pictures of the Roman walls.
The Coptic Museum
Built on the year 1908, this interesting museum, is home to one of the hugest collections of Coptic artifacts such as stone work, textiles and tapestries and others, with an inventory that’s more or less 15000 ancient antiques. Many of those antiques were gifted away by the local Christians of Egypt. If you're look for the best guide to the Christian history of Egypt, then the Coptic museum should be the best place for you to start. While exploring the Coptic museum, it will be possible for you to understand clearly how the Christian ways influenced and interacted with mythological nature and many legendary figures in Ancient Egyptian culture as well as religions.
The museum also highlights the phase before the Islamic era shot of, and its most significant landmarks. The museum is made up of various sections, based on the materials used to make the artifacts e.g. textiles, woodwork, glass, metal work and textiles.
Also there is a Library named Naga Hammadi, the entering of which is exclusive to researchers from all around the globe. This library contains around 1200 ancient manuscripts and writings that day back to the Coptic era.