Cairo/Old Cairo

Church of St. George

Old Cairo (Arabic, Masr al-Qadima) is the name given to the extensive district of southern Cairo from the southern boundary of Garden City down to the precinct commonly known as Coptic Cairo.

Understand

Old Cairo is the home of Cairo's Coptic Christian community. The Coptic Orthodox Church traces its founding to Saint Mark the Apostle in 42 AD, and is thus arguably the world's oldest Christian denomination. While the majority of Egyptians converted to Islam in the 12th century, the Church has survived through centuries of persecution, not only from hostile Muslim rulers such as the Fatimids, but also at the hands of the Crusaders, who viewed the Coptics as heretics. Today, Egypt has some 12 million Copts, but the narrow alleyways of Old Cairo still have the feel of an island set apart from the rest of the city.

Visitors are welcome to visit Coptic churches, even during services, which are now mostly held in Arabic. Note that Copts use the Julian calendar, so Christmas falls on January 7 and Easter can fall on a different date.

Get in

By Metro

The Metro train is by far the easiest mode of travel into this district.   Mar Girgis station on Cairo Metro Line 1 is located immediately outside the Coptic Cairo quarter. From Midan Tahrir in central Cairo, take the Metro south, the fare costs 1 LE and trains run every few minutes.

See

Map of Old Cairo
Mosque of Amr ibn al-As

Coptic Cairo

Rhoda Island

Do

Buy

There are a number of small shops along Mar Girgis Street, near the metro station, selling items including pottery and other crafts.

Connect

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, February 10, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.