Today I ventured out again into Coptic Kahira. The last time I went there – I could not visit the Coptic Museum and really did not see why the Hanging Church was called a Hanging Church. Its good to do a bit of research in advance before visiting a place of interest. I had bought the ‘Rough Guide’ to Egypt in India. However last time around I did not read it well.
So I ventured out again there. I did not visit the churches of St.George and the church of St.Barbara – which I had visited last time. I went straight to the Museum.
Photos were not allowed inside. However the outsides were equally beautiful. While I was browsing through the contents of the museum – I could see how the early Christian faith of Egypt was heavily influenced by the Pharoahnic culture. The icons, images reflected the time and influence. There was the image of Isis breast feeding Horus and again the image of Mary breast feeding Christ. Same posture, similar icon – but different religion. This just made me think – that no religion remains free of this kind of influence and evolution. Today’s Hinduism reflects the evolution and influence of saints/ideas of the near past. Our own beliefs are a reflection of our time. So that makes us think of what really is ‘absolute belief’. There is nothing like absolute belief. It makes us question the phrases we use ……. like for Hinduism we call it ‘Sanatana Dharma’ or the eternal religion. It is just an attempt to glorify our own religion and make it seem so elevated. Today’s Hinduism can trace back to 3000 years. This was roughly the same period that Egypt’s original religion survived. We have no way of guaranteeing that the religions of today will be the religions of tomorrow. There is no permanence. Yesterday we had Ra, Horus, Isis. Today we have Mary, Krishna, Buddha. Tomorrow we have no way of seeing. The icons and personalities behind these images are only a reflection of where we are in the scheme of time/things. When the religions themself are not permanent – there is no point debating which is right and wrong. As I was mentioning – there is nothing absolute. We believe/practice ….what we are brought up to believe and what we are made to see is right. Morals/beliefs/religion ……… are all very very relative.
Anyway moving on ……………I went to the Hanging Church – where I shot some really good photos like (nothing unusual about me shooting superb photos!!!!!! 😉 )
and I also found out why it was called the Hanging church. The reason is that this church is built on two pillars and the remaining foundation is pretty hollow. Earlier water used to flow underneath. But now it is dry. There is a glass in the floor through which we can see this:
From there I went to the Amr Ibn Aas mosque. Amr Ibn Aas was a contemporary of Prophet Mohammed. Hence this mosque is the oldest. I got the standard pics of beautiful lamps, pillared halls, abulation area and fine ceiling art work.
Next I went to the Ibn Tulun mosque – which is very unique for its minaret with an external staircase. Usually mosques all over the world have an internal staircase for the minaret. This one was different. They also allow you to climb the minaret. The fun thing about mosques in Egypt is that they allow you right inside. Again it has been my childhood fantasy …… when I kept wondering how it would be to look from the top of a mosque minaret. So I fulfilled that fantasy as well. 🙂
I got some fantastic pictures across all of today’s tour. To see all of this – visit the entire album here:
|Coptic Museum, Hanging Church and Ibn Tolon mosque|
At the end of it – I decided that I have had enough with mosques, churches, pyramids. I need to look for something different. Well with few more days left for me in Egypt – lets see what else I can cover.