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Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Pope Towadros II of Alexandria opened the Hanging
Church in Old Cairo Yesterday after 16 years of restoration at a budget of LE101
church's main hall
the framework of the antiquities ministry's effort to protect and preserve
Egypt’s Coptic shrines, PM Ibrahim Mahlab and Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria
will officially open yesterday the Hanging Church in Old Cairo.
16 years of restoration, the Hanging Church, one of Egypt’s oldest churches, is
finally to welcome worshippers and visitors. The opening ceremony is to be
attended by Cairo Governor Galal Saeed along with top governmental officials. Antquities
Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online that the restoration work of the
church lasted for 16 years with a budget of LE101 million, returning the 4th
century edifice to its original allure.
explained that the restoration work was carried out in three phases to reduce
water leakage and strengthen the church’s foundations and the Babylon fortress
located beneath it, to protect them from potential future damage. The walls
were reinforced, missing and decayed stones were replaced and masonry cleaned
and desalinated. The decorations and icons of the church were also subject to
fine restoration in collaboration with Russian experts. New lighting and
ventilation systems have also been installed.
Hanging Church from the courtyard
in a heavily populated area, says Wadallah Mohamed, assistant of the head of
the projects section at the ministry, the Hanging Church was suffering from
environmental hazards including air pollution, a high subsoil water level, a
high rate of humidity, and leakage of water from the outdated and a decayed
100-year-old sewage system. Other damage included decorations of the church’s
wooden ceiling being stained with smoke and the impact of the 1992 earthquake,
which resulted in cracks in the church’s walls and foundations.
church is now safe and sound and its restoration was carried out according to
the latest technology,” asserted Mohamed. Nashwa
Gaber, general director of the technical office at the ministry, said that the
Hanging Church is the first church to be built in Egypt in Basilican style. It
was built on top of a Babylonian fortress. Important religious ceremonies,
continued Gaber, were held there and in the 7th century it became the first
seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope of Alexandria in Cairo. It was also a court
for breakers of church rituals and laws.
church is located in Old Cairo in an area called Mogamaa Al-Adian (or
"religious compound" in Arabic), which includes the Amr Ibn Al-Ass
Mosque, Ben Ezra Synagogue and a collection of churches.