Old Cairo

Old Cairo – STT104

Old Cairo is an area often overlooked by tourists as they visit instead the really big ticket items of Cairo like the pyramids, the Museum and the Citadel. However, a day in this fascinating area will provide you with a different view of the unique life and architecture of the old city and will give you an opportunity to see and enjoy some of the very special Coptic, Islamic and Jewish sites of Cairo, which date back to the 3rd century AD.

The entrance to the Hanging Church in Coptic Cairo

The entrance to the Hanging Church in Coptic Cairo, so named for its location above a gatehouse of Babylon Fortress, the Roman fortress in Coptic Cairo (Old Cairo); its nave is suspended over a passage.


Highlights:
Close to the east bank of the Nile, in an area which is known as Coptic Cairo, there is a group of old, unique churches and monasteries which date from the 3rd century AD. These include the Hanging Church which was built upon the Babylon Fortress, Abu Sefein Church, the Church of St. Barbara and the Church of St. Sergio (Abu Serga). You will also visit the St George Monastery, and find out how this Saint was persecuted and tortured during the time of Roman persecution in Egypt. In addition there is an excellent Coptic Museum which houses some unique Coptic icons, crosses and antiquities.

Entrance to the Coptic Museum

The Coptic Museum in Coptic Cairo, Egypt has the largest collection of Egyptian Christian artifacts in the world. It was founded by Marcus Simaika Pasha in 1910 to house Coptic antiquities. The museum traces the history of Christianity in Egypt from its beginnings to the present day.

In this area we will also visit the Synagogue of Ben Ezra which is now the main synagogue which can be visited in Egypt. The Synagogue was originally a Christian church, which the Coptic Christians of Cairo had to sell to the Jews in 882 AD in order to pay the annual taxes imposed by the Muslim rulers of the time. The church was purchased by Abraham Ben Ezra, who came from Jerusalem during the reign of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, for 20,000 dinars.

Annex of the Library of Jewish Heritage in Egypt at Ben Ezra Synagogue

Annex of the Library of Jewish Heritage in Egypt at Ben Ezra Synagogue. The Ben Ezra Synagogue, sometimes referred to as the El-Geniza Synagogue or the Synagogue of the Palestinians, is situated in Old Cairo, Egypt. According to local tradition, it is located on the site where baby Moses was found.


We will also visit Amr Ibn al A’as Mosque, the first mosque in Egypt and Africa. This mosque was of great importance in Islamic Egypt not only because it is the first mosque in Egypt but also it was the first scientific university, 600 years before the Al-Azhar mosque was established.

Courtyard and minaret of the Ibn Tulun Mosque

Courtyard and minaret of the Ibn Tulun Mosque.


You will also take in a visit to the Ibn Tulun Mosque.

Old and Coptic Cairo is considered one of most interesting areas of Cairo where you will not only see the oldest styles of art and architecture but also three different kinds of religious buildings in the same area. Many of these sites do not have entrance fees but donations are always appreciated.

Old chandelier shop in the Khan il Khalili

Old chandelier shop in the Khan il Khalili, the oldest souq in Egypt

You will also have time for a little shopping after lunch at Khan il Khalili, Cairo’s most famous old souq.

Duration
Our tour will start at 8 am at your accommodation and we’ll have you back safe and sound around 9 hours later, dependent on how you might like to linger at sites and on the ubiquitous Cairo traffic.

Hotel pickups may commence prior to this time, exact pickup time will be advised on reconfirmation.

The tour operates daily all year round.

Inclusions:
All transportation by private air-conditioned vehicle with professional driver
Pick up and drop off at your accommodation
Registered tour guide (who speaks your language or English) who will assist you in making the most of your visit
Lunch
Entrance fees to the Coptic Museum

Exclusions:
Food and drink unless specified
Tips (recommended)
Any activity costs not mentioned in our program

Things to note:
There are no entrance fees to religious sites in Old Cairo but donations are welcomed
Walking through Old Cairo, while the sites are close together, can be over uneven surfaces and sensible, comfortable footwear is advised.
Sunscreen and water are important. Much of the area is shaded and a hat is not essential.
There are souvenir salesmen everywhere in Egypt and bazaar shop owners can be insistent; be polite but firm if you are not interested in purchasing. Ask your guide for assistance if necessary.
If required, wheelchair accessibility should be discussed when booking. A vehicle with wheelchair accessibility can be made available but the streets of old Cairo are not always easy with a chair.
Don’t forget your camera!!! Bring a spare battery and card – you’ll take lots of pictures to help you remember this fascinating area and its people.

Confirmation
A confirmation sheet will be sent to you upon booking with all details, including local telephone numbers for enquiries.

Cost
1 person – US$95 per person
2 – 4 people – US$58 per person
5 – 8 people – US$39 per person
9 -15 people – US$34 per person
Request a quote for 16+ people
Reduced costs for children 4-12, children 3 and under free

Prices are a guide based on current currency conversion rates and set entrance fees. While we do not expect significant change, we can give you an exact quote at the time of booking.

If you wish to book this tour please quote STT104. You may contact us by email at nilewavetravel@gmail.com or phone +2017 333 8800.

The interior of the ancient Hanging CHurch

The beautiful interior of the Hanging Church. The Hanging Church has 110 icons, the oldest of which dates back to the 8th century, but most of them date to the 18th century.

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