St. Simon – The Cave Monastery

The connection of the cave and church is really unusual and extraordinary for the cave specialists and also for archaeologists who study all traces left on print of human hand. Those places represent unusual particular challenge for art historians, but also for all those who observe the ancient cultures. This rare phenomenon with its artistic and historical value manages to attract the attention of world public. For cave churches usually are used natural caves, sometimes situated high in the rocks, which, if it is needed, could further be divided by a wall of stone.

During travelling and introduction of tourist attractions, many people decide to visit the churches and monasteries.  If we ignored their religious content and symbolism, we can realize that they are all buildings that simply leave you breathless.

Image by Archie Wong via Flickr

Such place is St. Simon Monastery located in Cairo, Egypt. Saint Simon was built in 1975 and is one of seven religious buildings that are built on the mountain Mokattam. Part of the city of Cairo in which is placed this unusual church is located in the area known as the city of garbage, because of the large number of people which living there and engaged in collecting recyclable materials. Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country, but people there are consists mainly of Coptic Christians. Christian communities are rare in Egypt so that members often decide to stay in this part of town because they could not afford homes at other place.

Image by Archie Wong via Flickr

Local Coptic Church was founded and the population began to feel safer. St. Simon covers an area of 1000 square meters. Inside the mountain was built a few churches, but St. Simon is the largest of them. Indeed, with the capacity of 20,000 seats, St. Simon is considered as the largest church in the Middle East. Within this extraordinary architectural piece also in function is the work of amphitheatre with excellent acoustics.

Image by Archie Wong via Flickr

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