It's been a little traumatizing to check on online news articles regarding Egypt. The comments against Muslims, Islam and the Arab world have been in general harsh, racist, hateful and ignorant. I've been wanting to reply to the comments or blog about them but I feel I don't have enough experience or knowledge to reply. I only know, from having been here in Cairo for a month, that I have been surrounded by nothing but kindness and tolerance. And if anything, people here are like just everyone else who go through regular lives working, spending time with family, praying. Those folks responsible for terrorist acts are not even a percentage of the population of the Arab world.
Thus this trip to Coptic Cairo with one of my teachers have been a blessing in that I learned a lot about Islam and its relationship.
Here's what I've learned on this particular trip:
1. From Wikipedia : Coptic Cairo is a part of Old Cairo which encompasses the Babylon Fortress, the Coptic Museum, the Hanging Church, the Greek Church of St. George and many other Coptic churches and historical sites. It is believed that the Holy Family visited this area and stayed at the site ofSaints Sergius and Bacchus Church (Abu Serga). Coptic Cairo was a stronghold for Christianity in Egypt until the Islamic era, though most of the current buildings of the churches in Coptic Cairo were built after the Muslim conquest of Egypt.
So I'm lazy - shoot me.
2. The Coptic Museum is more of your better run Museums. It is fully airconditioned and all important artifacts are inside a glass casing. The museum is filled with objects that narrate the Christian influence in Egypt. This is very interesting for a Catholic like me.
3. I learned that a lot of stories I love in the Bible are also in the Qur'an. Example: The story of the Holy Family, the story of the angels, Joseph the Dreamer among many others.
4. I believe my teacher also learned a lot from me in that he asked me a lot of questions about my religion. So it's good that I was a bit prepared with my little knowledge of Christian teaching and history. hahaha.
5. It's really hot in Cairo at this time of the month. I can't emphasize this enough. Bring water and wear cool clothes.
6. You can't bring your camera inside the museum, but you can take pictures on the courtyard like we did.
Here are the pictures!
The sky in Cairo is alway flawless blue.
You can take the Metro train which will stop right in front of Coptic Cairo. The best news is it's only 1 Egyptian pound!
Entrance to the Coptic Museum.
Here is 3ssom my teacher.
I always look so awkward in photos.
So hot. The weather.Not me.
I love the Arabesque architecture in Coptic Cairo.
Look at the intricate design!
This is one of the many churches in Coptic Cairo.
The Holy family!
Ended the day with burgers cooked by Erin!