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Babylon Fortress, Cairo, Egypt

April 27th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 
 

Babylon Fortress was a fortress city or castle in the Delta of Egypt, located at Babylon in the area known as Coptic Cairo. It was situated in the Heliopolite Nome, upon the right (eastern) bank of the Nile, at latitude 30° N., near the commencement of the Pharaonic Canal (also called Ptolemy's Canal and Trajan's Canal), from the Nile to the Red Sea.

It was at the boundary between Lower and Middle Egypt, where the river craft paid tolls when ascending or descending the Nile. Diodorus ascribes the erection of the first fort to rebel Assyrian captives in the reign of Sesostris, and Ctesias (Persica) dates it to the time of Semiramis; but Josephus (l. c.), with greater probability, attributes its structure to some Babylonian followers of Cambyses, in 525 BC. The Romans built a new fortress with typically Roman red and white banded masonry nearer to the river.

The Fort of Babylon contains several of the Copts' oldest churches , which are built into or on its walls. These include El-Muallaqa (the Hanging Church) and the Greek Church of St. George. A number of other Coptic churches are nearby. The area is called Old, or Coptic Cairo (Masr el Atika), for this is indeed the oldest part of the city, and the remains of the fort are Cairo proper's oldest original structure. Indeed, Cairo owes its existence to this fort.

The fort is also known as Qasr el Shamee or the candles palace as the towers of the fort were adorned with illuminated candles at the beginning of every month, thus people could follow the movement of the sun from one tower to another. Six Coptic churches, a convent and the Coptic Museum are actually within the enclosure of the fortress.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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