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Hanging Church Renovations Complete

After 16 years, the $5.4 million renovations to one of Egypt's most important heritage sites have been completed and the wonder is now once again accepting visitors.

After over a decade and a half, the restoration of the Hanging Church in Coptic Cairo is finally complete. The 1,300-year-old church re-opened its doors to visitors again just yesterday, with an opening ceremony that included Pope Tawadross II of Alexandria as well as the Prime Minister.

Built sometime in the third century, the church was constructed atop the ruins of the Babylon Fortress, a second century Roman fortress, and derives its name from the fact that its nave is suspended over a passage. Given its origins, it's one of the oldest churches in Egypt and very much embedded in the country's history. Architecturally speaking, it features an elaborate Byzantine style, and also carries historical significance in that it served as the seat of the Coptic pope for many years. As such, its restoration was a lengthy and scrupulous one, carried out in several stages. The 16-year, $5.4 million restoration process included reinforcing the church's foundations, as well as restoring many of its decorations.

Given its sheer age, as well as its historical importance, the renovations took quite a long time but a part of Egypt's heritage has effectively been restored and preserved and the iconic church is now open to visitors once again.