The Mokattam mountain in southeast Cairo, Egypt, is home to the Monastery of Saint Simon, also known as the Cave Church. It is more than just a place of worship for religion; it is a sanctuary for beauty and history, the meeting place of the supernatural and the created world in a flourish of creative architecture.
The phrase 'the cave chapel that was consecrated to him seems as though it would last for ten more [centuries]' refers to the saint Simon the Tanner, an artisan who lived in the 10th century AD. However, this otherwise modest and earthy environment has a natural, almost cosmic beauty.
The site, which is located at the foot of the al-Mokattam hills, was initially built to serve the area's huge population of Coptic Christians, who were a humble people with simple upbringings and no centralised place of worship to meet their spiritual requirements. This was addressed by the 1975 establishment of the Monastery of Saint Simon.
Construction of a monastery at the summit of the mountain started following a large fire that started nearby in 1976.
It is a masterpiece with magnificent paintings and stories carved into the mountain rocks and on the walls, as well as statues of Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary. A spectacle unlike any other is tucked into the cliffside: engraved images of the Holy Family are combined with dim sunshine, rows of simple pews, and unmatched glory.
The monastery is the largest among churches constructed inside Mokattam's caves and even in the Middle East, with a capacity for up to 20,000 people.
Mokattam District , Cairo 11511 Egypt