It's not Artkhana's first tour around Cairo, however, this time we made sure we're on board as they decided to explore Coptic Cairo, through an 8-hour tour.
For those who want to know what Artkhana does, it’s simply an NGO that focuses on using every ounce of Art to benefit the society. They do so by holding a number of creative fundraising events throughout the year, as well as a big exhibition in which the art teams’ products are sold. They then invest the profit into charity work.
Last Friday, February 20, Artkhana headed to “Mogama3 Al Adyan” (The Religious Complex), where the tour was located. It’s called that because it combines the three main religions in Egypt; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. On our way there, the team of Artkhana made sure everyone got an encouraging quote to lift their spirits.
First off, we visited the Jewish Synagogue. Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed, however, we can help you imagine. The synagogue is not big, and has columns circulating a stone in the center. There is a colored glass window facing the center of the synagogue, where the sun directs 3 rays on the main carved stone in the middle; pointing at specific words. This synagogue is said to be the one Moses stood and prayed at after God sent his message upon him. This is evident by the writings on the ceramic stone at the center of the synagogue.
Then we headed to the Coptic Museum that is home for 16,000 historical pieces. From paintings on Bardi paper, to precisely carved columns. Of course we weren’t able to see all of them, but here are some of our favorites:
Up next was The Hanging Church, which is considered to be one of the oldest Romanian churches in Egypt. It was a Pharaonic temple at first, then was transformed into a church when the Romans submitted to Christianity.
Moving on to my favorite site of the day, the St. George Church. At the entrance of this church, is a statue of Saint George fighting the dragon.
The details and colors of this church are what I admired the most. We also got to feel that spiritual relief of letting go of a wish with a candle. The serenity of this place is what makes it special.
It was time for the Friday prayer, and we got to pray at the Amr Ibn Al-as mosque, that dates back to the Islamic conquest of Egypt. After the prayer, we visited the church of Abo Serga, St. Barbara’s Church, the Nunnery and went back to the museum for a cozy music circle.
The tour was both beneficial and fun, as we got to know new faces as we understood more about our country’s religious history.
On the behalf of the Spiral Team, I would like to thank Artkhana for an enlightening trip. Way to go!
Photography by: Hatem Reda & Nada Mawsouf
Special thanks to Artkhana