Monday, 9 April 2007

Coptic Easter in Cairo, past and present

"Easter is the time to commemorate the rich history of Christianity in Egypt. 'This area is called Tagamua’ Al Adyan,' a shop owner proudly boasts, using the Arabic term for 'The Gathering of Religions' to describe Old Cairo (Masr Al Qadima). Within the area of one square mile as many as twenty churches were built — though only five remain today.A few steps away one of the earliest mosques ever built in Cairo, Amr Ibn El As, stands tall. And, following the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the influx of Jews into the area is marked by the country’s oldest synagogue — Ben Ezra.

This small area is a fascinating reminder of Cairo’s history. If you want a real Easter treat this weekend, explore the evolution of Christianity in Egypt by visiting this small corner of the city.

The narrow road is dotted with signposts pointing to a number of landmarks. Walk through the walls of the Roman-Byzantine fortress and visit the vault where Jesus and the Virgin Mary hid from Roman soldiers.Wander through the Coptic churches and soak up their rich history and traditions. Tourists overrun the area in the mornings; and on weekends and national holidays, Egyptians join the crowds. This only creates a sense of camaraderie as cultural and religious differences are set aside to share in a common appreciation for Old Cairo’s treasures."

See the above page for the full story.

No comments: