Old Cairo Area
In south Cairo, a short drive from Saladin’s Citadel and only 700m south of the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, lies the area of Old Cairo (also known as Masr al-Qadima and Coptic Cairo). As the name of the area suggests, this is an ancient area of Cairo that is now the popular home to Cairo’s Coptic Christian community. Part of this area, known as Fustat (also known as Misr Al-Fustat) was briefly the capital of Egypt in the seventh and eighth centuries CE, and again for a brief period in the tenth century CE.
The area is famous for its narrow alleyways and shops and for housing a number of buildings of religious significance, including the Church and Monastery of St. George, the Churches of St. Sergius (Abu Serga) and St. Barbara, the Sharia Mar Girgis (also known as the Hanging Church), the Ben Ezra Synagogue, and the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As. All of these sites are located within a relatively small geographic area (the majority of these are within a 150m x 150m block of buildings), and are thus easily accessible on foot. The Mar Girgis Metro station is also located within Old Cairo and can be a convenient way to access the area for those who wish to take a train.
Visitors to all sites in this area should be mindful of the different religious/cultural conventions and etiquette expected. This may include dressing modestly, removing footwear upon entering buildings (or parts of some buildings), and withholding photography in certain areas of buildings. It is also recommended that visitors plan their visits outside of prayer time.
Creator: Jon ‘southtopia’