El Mokattam Mountain Cave Church (Monastery of St Simon) Tours

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El Mokattam Mountain Cave Church, also known as the Monastery of St Simon, is located in the Mokattam mountain in southeast Cairo. The area is known as ‘garbage city’ due to the 
large number of garbage collectors or ‘Zabbaleen’ that live there and sort through the city’s waste, recycling up to 80% of it.

To reach El Mokattam Mountain Cave Church, visitors must weave through winding alleys before arriving at the entrance to what is believed to be one of the largest engraved monasteries in the world. The Zabbaleen are a minority Coptic Christian group and this gigantic church, which has been carved out of the mountainside and has a seating capacity of up to 20,000, is their place of worship.

The cave church is dedicated to Simon the Tanner, a craftsman saint who lived during the 10th century. The church as it exists today features various motives and sculptures depicting the life of Christ, and an amphitheater surrounding a central pulpit.

Practical Info

Reaching the monastery is relatively tricky due to the narrow, bustling alleys visitors must navigate before reaching the far end of the village. The best way to reach the cave is with a private guide or as part of an organized tour.
Location
Address: Mokattam Mountain, Qism El­-Khalifa, Cairo, Egypt
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5 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Half-Day Private Tour of Coptic Cairo Including Saint Simon Church in Moqqatam

Plunge into the ancient history of Coptic Cairo on a private full-day tour led by a knowledgeable guide. Absorb the historical charm of Old Cairo, an atmospheric enclave home to landmarks like the Hanging Church and the Roman ruins of the Babylon Fortress. Descend to the crypt of an archaic Coptic church; feast on typical Egyptian dishes like Koshary at lunchtime; and head inside the colossal mountain, El Moqqatam, to see the holy inscriptions carved onto the stone walls. Receive undivided attention from your guide on this educational private tour.   
  • Duration: 6 hours
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USD22.88
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  • Duration: 6 hours
From
USD22.88

Private Day Tour to Giza Pyramids, Sphinx, Coptic Cairo and Saint Simon Church in Cairo

Visit three pyramids and ancient Egyptian churches on this private, full-day adventure in Cairo. See the Great Pyramid of Giza, the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex; the Great Sphinx of Giza on the west bank of the Nile; the Coptic Cairo museum, featuring a collection of ancient Egyptian Christian artwork, objects and manuscripts; and the Monastery of Saint Simon, or the Cave Church, located in the Mokattam mountain. All necessary entrance fees, plus a Cairo hotel pickup and drop-off are included.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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USD50.00
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  • Duration: 8 hours
From
USD50.00

Full Day Christian Tour in Cairo with Private Guide and Lunch

Experience Cairo’s age-old Coptic Christian heritage on a full-day trip with a private guide. Traveling around by air-conditioned minivan, visit six Coptic sites as you hear about their past and religious significance. Explore the Hanging Church, built above a Roman fortress; visit Abu Serga Church, thought to stand where Mary, Joseph and Jesus sheltered during their flight into Egypt; and admire three other places of worship. Break for lunch at a local restaurant and pause at the Virgin’s Tree in Mataria, where the holy family is said to have rested.
  • Duration: 7 hours
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USD30.00
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  • Duration: 7 hours
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USD30.00

Day Trip from Cairo to El Mokkatm Mountain Cave Church

Discover the cave churches in El Mokattam Mountain on a 3-hour day-trip from Cairo, and discover the remarkable monastery of St. Simon the Tanner. Travel through ‘garbage city,’ home to the mostly-Coptic Zabbaleen trash collectors, learn how the churches were carved into the rock and see the site where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared. 
  • Duration: 3 hours
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USD60.00
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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USD60.00

Holy Day Tour: Coptic Cairo and Saint Simon Church

Soak up the unique spiritual atmosphere of Egypt during this private 5-hour exploration of Cairo’s historic churches and synagogues. Wander the atmospheric streets of Cairo’s Coptic District, discovering the country’s Christian history through your stops at historic churches like Abu-Sergah, St. Barbara and the Hanging Church. You’ll also explore Egypt’s Jewish history at the Ben Ezra Synagogue and learn the story of Saint Simon the Tanner, a 10th-century Coptic Orthodox religious figure. Your trip also includes a private Egyptologist guide, entrance fees, bottled water and round-trip hotel transport.
  • Duration: 5 hours
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USD40.00
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  • Duration: 5 hours
From
USD40.00


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