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Church of St. Barbara

Coptic sites

The church of St. Barbara is one of the oldest and among the most remarkable churches in Cairo. It is situated on the eastern part of the Babylon fort. It dates back to the 5th century and was rebuilt again around the 11th century. It was named after St. Barbara who was born in the beginning of the 3rd century in Nicomedia in Asia Minor. She converted to Christianity and refused to marry any of the aristocratic young men in Alexandria and devoted herself to serving god. Her father was a pagan and therefore he tortured her so much, then complained to the Roman governor Marcianus who in turn tortured her severely but she resisted and refused to leave Christianity. Finally she was killed together with her companion Juliana.

It takes a shape of a Basilica. It comprises of an entrance, Narhtex, nave and 2 aisles and the 3 sanctuaries which located usually in the East of the church, the middle sanctuary is the main one which was dedicated to St. Barbara. After entering from the Narthex there are 5 marble columns with palm leave capitals that separate the Nave from each of the 2 aisles. In front of the Middle sanctuary there is a half round Choir which consists of 7 steps.

From the Southern Sanctuary of the church visitors can enter through a door way to a rectangular hall which contains a chapel dedicated to St. Barbara. This is one of the very recent modifications in the church. From the Northern Sanctuary there is a doorway that leads to the small church which was consecrated to St. Cyrus and John.

The church has 3 sanctuaries, the Middle one was dedicated to St. Cyrus and John, the right one was dedicated to St. George while the third one is used today for the baptism.

The most precious things found inside this church is a sycamore wooden door that dates back to the 5th century. The church has many icons, the most remarkable dates back to about the 13th century. The main icons depict Christ surrounded by the angles.

There are other icons on the Southern aisle of the church, they represent the Virgin Mary and Jesus when he a child, Jesus entering Jerusalem and the baptism of Christ.

Interesting tips

The church is located in Old Cairo Suburb you can take  a taxi to get there. it is only 7 KM away from Cairo centre

There are no entrance fees for this church

No photography  is allowed inside the church

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