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This Cave Church in Cairo Can Sit 20,000 People And Was Built by the Garbage Collectors

Yes, this Cave Church in Cairo can sit 20,000 people and was built by the garbage collectors. In Cairo, the Zabbaleen people are known as the “garbage collectors”. Almost all of them are Coptic Christians. They settle down at the foot of Mokattam Mountains where the overpowering smell of garbage is too gross to handle. Unfortunately, to reach the Cave Church, you’ll have to pass through the dingy, narrow alleys of the “Garbage City.”

Getting lost on our way to the Cave Church 
I hired a Uber driver to take me there. I typed Cave Church on the map and bingo, I thought that was it. But, I was wrong – or the map was wrong! 😀 The direction led us up to the golf course on top of the mountains. The security guards were quick to point out that we were lost and that we had to go back. They gave instructions to the driver who was nervous of not getting it right. Or, perhaps, nervous of me giving him a bad review. We went down the zigzag road again and asked directions from a few kind souls.

Our car snaked through the narrow alleys of the “Garbage City.” I told the driver to fully close all windows because the rancid smell was too hard to inhale. Hundred of fat flies swarmed and pelted the car windows. It looked like there was a plague! Outside, it was normal day as usual. Children were playing like those flies and the foul stench didn’t matter to them.

Related: Jesus was a Refugee in Egypt and This is the Cave Where He Stayed

When you reach the Cave Church in Cairo, the parking lot looks like this. Jesus welcomes you with open arms.
Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

There are carved statues on the mountainside depicting scenes and quotes from the Bible.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

And this is the entrance to the Cave Church. A caretaker met me here, introducing himself as a guide. He said I could give him any amount for the church. In the end, I gave him EGP150 for an hour of service.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

This amphitheater can hold 20,000 worshippers at once.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

The natural stone walls are carved with scenes from the life of Jesus Christ.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Can you identify this Biblical scene?

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Bible verses are carved on the walls, too.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

The main pulpit is carved deep into the cave.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

It’s a long walk from the top to the bottom.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Here, you find a painting of St. Simon the Tanner who is known for the miracle of moving the Mokattam Mountain.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Next to the painting is this box that contains the bone of the Saint.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

If you look at the cave’s roof, you’ll find a cross and a painting of Virgin Mary.

Cave Church Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

And if you look back, this is what you’ll see.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Nowadays, this Cave Church in Cairo is still used for a mass once a week.
Cave Church Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner

Cave Church Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

If you’re standing on top of the amphitheater, you’ll see part of Cairo’s skyline.

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

Cave Church in Cairo (aka Church of Saint Simon the Tanner).

How to get there: 
You better take a Uber driver than a regular taxi. Type Church of St. Simon the Tanner, not Cave Church. Make sure, the area is within the Mokattam Mountains. The whole trip, including getting lost and an hour & a half wait cost me only $18!

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