The Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Church, also known as the Hanging Church, is a famous Egyptian landmark in Cairo. It is one of the oldest churches in the country, with a history dating back to the 3rd century. Between the 7th and 13th century, it was the seat of the Coptic Pope and houses more than a 100 icons, some dating back as far as the 8th century. The Hanging Church got its nickname from the fact that it rests above a gatehouse of a Babylon Fortress built in the 2nd century.
For the last 16 years, Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Church has been undergoing restorations that cost $5.4 million. At an inauguration ceremony on Saturday that saw the attendance of Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Egypt’s Coptic Christian pope, Tawadros II, the restoration project was finally completed, with walls having been reinforced, missing stones replaced and its legendary icons restored with help from Russian experts. Malhab said the restoration took so long due to the engineering challenges in handling underground waters, but that the church is now safe and restored with the latest technology.
Have you visited the Hanging Church? What do you think of its restorations? Should they restore historical buildings or leave them be?