Church of St Sergius & Bacchus
This museum, founded in 1908, houses Coptic art from the earliest days of Christianity in Egypt up through early Islam. It is a...
Church of St Barbara
At the corner past Abu Sarga, the Church of St Barbara is dedicated to a martyr who was beaten to death by her father for trying to...
Ben Ezra Synagogue
Just outside the walls of the Coptic enclave, the 9th-century Ben Ezra synagogue occupies the shell of a 4th-century Christian church....
Church of St Sergius & Bacchus information
This is the oldest church inside Coptic Cairo's walls, built in the 11th century with 4th-century pillars. It honours the Roman soldiers Sergius and Bacchus, who were martyred in Syria for their Christian faith in AD 296. It is built over a cave where Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus are said to have taken shelter after fleeing to Egypt to escape persecution from King Herod of Judea, who had embarked upon a ‘massacre of the first born’.
Abu Sarga is based on a basilican structure with a nave and two side aisles. The nave is defined by twelve columns, eleven in white marble and one in red granite, with some showing traces of images of saints. The church houses some great icons representing the life of Christ, various saints and Virgin Mary. The cave of the Holy Family, now a crypt, is reached by descending steps in a chapel to the left of the altar (usually locked). Every year, on 1 June, a special mass is held here to commemorate the event. To get here, walk down the central lane (Haret Al-Kidees Girgis), turning right at the T, then left as it turns; stairs lead down to the entrance, below street level.