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  • 3/16/2004

The Coptic Museum

TheCoptic Museum in Cairo is a life-like record of one of Egypt's periods all fraught with various antiques and monuments reflecting the different civilizations that graced the land of Egypt starting by the Ancient Egyptian civilization, passing by the Greek, the Roman, the Coptic, and lastly the Islamic.

TheCoptic Museum lies behind the walls of the famous Roman Fortress ofBabylon in the ancient district of Cairo (Misr Al-Qadima). The area surrounding the museum abounds in lively monuments of open museums that depict with the Coptic Museum the history of the Coptic Period inEgypt.

Six paramount, ancient, Coptic Churches share ground with theCopticMuseum. They date back somewhere between 5th and 8th century AD. The place holds the church of Abu Serga, the most ancient in Egypt. It was raised above the cave which the Holy Family sought refuge into as they fled from Herodus's oppression toEgypt.
The place, moreover, embraces Virgin Mary's Church known as the Hanging Church; a great ancient worship house of world stature that was among the very first to host Coptic rituals on the face of earth. The museum was built in an artchitectural style using wood in ceilings and oriels (arabesque and lattice glass). Some biblical verses are written against them ornamented with Coptic embellishments like plants, especially grapevines, birds such as eagles, ostriches and peacock which all imply a certain philosophy and a specific significance in the Christian creed. Marble pillars and fountains ornamented with mosaic are more than present under the roof.
TheCopticMuseum in Cairo encloses rare treasures from the Coptic Period exhibiting a dimension of Egypt's civilization. The museum consists of two wings divided into several halls. The old wing was inaugurated in 1910 and comprises 13 sections, while the new was opened to the public on February 20, 1947 encompassing 17 halls.

A feature of the architectural style used in designing the museum. It includes wood oriel windows, and ornamented lattice glass.

A recess with an ornamented facade. In the middle, there is something like a nymph riding over a water animal. (3rd-4th c. A.D). Piece No. (7068).

A vessel of pottery ornamented with colour plant and animal drawings. It dates back to the 7th century. piece No.(9065).

A wall picture portraying Christ encircled by a wreath of flowers carried by Angles. It dates back to the 8th century. Piece No. (12089).

A vessel of pottery ornamented with colour plant and animal drawings. It has a pedesral with a drawing of the Virgin Mary sitting on a chair, carrying her baby Christ and surrounded by the twelve apstoles.(6th c. A.D.)

A pineal altar on which there are protruding and engraved embellishments, taking the shape of crosses and oysters, transferred from Abi Serga Church, dating
back to 4th century AD. There is also a base of a pillar above which there is a baptismal font ornamented with crosses and plants transferred from upper Egypt, dating back to AD 6th century.

The Coptic Museum
Hall no.6

Two rows of crowned pillars exhibited with ornaments of grapevines and leaves, acanthuses as well as palm fronds engraved on the crowns. The pillars are possessions of the monastery of Abba Armia dating back to the 6th century AD.
At the end of the hall there is a pulpit with a rest of limestone embellished with a shell and a cross in the heart. Six steps separate the pulpit from the ground and two crowned pillars stand on both sides dating back to 6th century AD. The no. of the piece 7988.
An Oriel of lattice glass lies in the background of the picture signifying the architectural style of the museum.

Sermons and hymns in the "Passion Week". This manuscript is divided into 2 parts; written in Coptic and Arabic Language. Its pages are ornamented with crosses and golden embellishments. It was at the patriarchate in 1630.Piece No. (1017).

The Book of the Four Gospels. It contains a golden portrait of John the Evangelist. It is taken from Abu Sefeen Church (623 H/ 1220 AD). Piece No. (147).

The Mass Service Book and some prayers written in Arabic Language with Syriac Letters. It dates back to the 19th century and is taken from the Hanging Church.Piece No. (1032).

An icon depicting Angel Gabriel standing with a holo around his head and carrying a cross in his right hand and an uncurled paper-roll bearing the Angle's Annunciation to virgin Mary in his left hand- 1709 AD. Piece no. 3432
The hall also exhibits daily used and tools from ivory and bones such as toys, spoons, perfume bottles, glass and agate necklaces, ivory bracelets, drillers, spinning- heads and vessels.

An icon depicting Christ, surrounded by a green curtain and carried by two angles from the two upper corners of the picture- 17th and 18th century. Piece no.3876

A bronze statue of an eagle with outspread wings, found in the ruins of the ancient Roman fortress of Babylon- 4th century.

A cross embellished with Coptic shapes of plants and angles, and with the crucified Christ in the middle. It has a lot of engravings and reliefs, found in Tumi city- Habo City.

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