NileGuide Expert Says:
Although much smaller than the Egyptian Museum, the Coptic Museum is every bit as fascinating. Use it to escape from the heat of the day, and make sure you find time to relax in the gardens too.
Mar Guirguis Street
In the center of Old Cairo, across from the exit from the Mar Girgis Metro stop
tel: +20 2 362 8766 / + 20 2 363 9742
Daily 9am-5pm (ticket office closes at 4pm).
The Coptic Museum houses the largest collection of Coptic artefacts in the world, with over 16,000 pieces on display. Copt comes from the Greek word for Egypt, and Coptic Christians are Egyptian Christians. Mark the Evangelist is credited with introducing Christianity to Egypt in the first century after Christ, and with similarities to aspects of ancient Egyptian belief, it quickly took hold.
The Coptic Museum traces the development of Christianity in Egypt from its beginnings to the present. The museum is housed in a beautiful old building in the precinct of the old Roman Babylon Fort
, and artefacts are spread out over two floors. The objects displayed are varied, and include art in various mediums such as metal, stone and wood, as well as manuscripts and textiles.
A large part of the appeal is that the Coptic Museum forges a link between the worlds of ancient Egypt, Christianity and Islam. For example, it is fascinating to see how the ankh symbol of Egypt gradually evolved into the Christian cross known today. The museum also includes very beautiful gardens that provide a wonderful place to relax.
The Coptic Museum is situated in the heart of Old Cairo
, amongst the other buildings that make up the Religion Compound
. As well as by taxi, it is easy to get here by Metro – get off at Mar Girgis station, and the museum is directly opposite.