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Old Cairo hanging church & Babilion fortress

The church of Virgin Mary Al-Muallaqa church  church ( Al Muallaqa is the Arabic meaning of the hanging church ) is dedicated to virgin Mary (  El Sayeda Miriam in Arabic ) , and dates back to the 4th century. It is known as Al Muallaqa or hanging church as it was constructed on the ruins of two towers from the old Roman fortress of Babylon, Built in 98 AD by Emperor Trajan.

The Hanging church in Old Cairo

The Hanging church in Old Cairo
Al Muallaqa hanging church,  It was erected Palm trees logs and layers of stones were constructed above the towers to be used as a fundament, then the hanging church was erected above, The church was built in the basilican style, was designed to mimic the shape of Noah's ark.
Dimensions of the hanging church in meters are 23.5 length, 18.5 width and height 9.5 meters.
The church has a total of 110 icons dating back to different centuries, The iconstasis ( sanctuary screen ) is made of cedar wood and ebony inlaid with ivory.
The 11th century marble pulpit surmounts 15 pillars.
The baptism font dates back to the 5th century.
The church became the seat of the coptic patriarch for several centuries
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The foundation of Babylon Fortress
Archaeological evidence and the accounts of ancient writers indicate a date
during the Late period ( 664-525 BC) for the first settlment in Old Cairo,
Ceramic finds suggest this first foundation was a river port with extensive trading contacts throughout the Levant and the Aegean.
The settlement at Babylon thus appearss to be conteporary with the first attempted cutting of  a canal between the red sea and the valley Nile by Necho II ( 610-595 BC) and its successful completion by the Persian king Darius ( 521-486 BC )
The first century BC 
The first-century-BC account of the Greek geographer Strabo links the name of settlement to its foundation by the some Babylonians who taken refuge there Babylon occupied a position of great strategic importance at  the head of the Nile valley, as well as a natural crossing point of the Nile via the island of Roda and conflux of a number of important east-west-trade routes.

Roman Babylon- the two phases of the harbour and the fortress \In 112 AD the Roman emperor Trajan shifted the head of the Red sea canal to Babylon and built a massive stone harbour around the entrance of the canal. The re opening of the canal by Trajan was connected to strategic and commercial interests in the 

in the eastern empire following the annexing of Nabataea in 106 AD. Around 300 AD the Emperor Diocletian secured this important strategic location by constructing the massive fortress Babylon, The fortress formed part of a comprehensive military and administrative reorganization of Egypt that included the construction of a string of strategic fortresses along the length of 

the Nile valley. The alignment of the fortress was derived from the existing riverside walls of the Trajanic harbour and the canal, with the eastern and western walls of the fortress framing two enclosures of equal width on either side of the canal. The entrance to the canal remained the same,although it was now flanked by the massive round towers that today mark the entrance to Coptic museum.

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