Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day 6: Churches

Only a few steps away from the synagogue is the Church of Saint Sergius.


Its claim to fame is that it's built over a crypt that is (one of) the traditional site(s) where the Holy Family stayed while they were in Egypt hiding from King Herod the Slaughterer of the Innocents. I dunno - it may be something like how everyone with an old house in the Eastern US has a bed that "George Washington slept in", but I'm trying to keep my inner cynic locked up away from decent people this week.

Saint Sergius is a Coptic church and Divine Liturgy is definitely still celebrated there; some friends of mine who were in Egypt a month or so before we were went there but couldn't go in the church because Liturgy was in progress at the time. This is another place where we we couldn't take our own pictures, but at least I can link you to some.

We then moseyed back along the alleyways toward the Hanging Church, which is a major tourist site. Along the path, we passed the gate to the Nunnery of Saint George:


and the ruins of a Roman tower:


The Hanging Church, which is built above the old city gate, is quite a bit higher than the surrounding ground level (hence the name):


and when it was built it was much higher still, because ground level in cities like Cairo tends to rise as each generation builds on top of the ruins of the previous generation. Finally, a church that let us take pictures inside!





What can I say - I like churches.

I was delighted to find that they had a gift shop, too. Since today was the day my souvenir/gift buying imperative kicked in, I got some Coptic-themed souvenirs for my friends Robert and Jeannette. At least it was prix fixe!

No comments: