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Church of Gabal El Teir

The Virgin Mary Church at Gabal El Tair is a popular attraction for Christians whether Egyptians or foreigners especially in the annual celebration or El Moulid that takes place in the 22th of August. It is located on the eastern bank of the Nile eastward Samalout and about 40km away from El Menia Bridge. Gabal El Tair area is called in that name because it is usually visited by visited by a large number of immigrant birds. Sometimes it is called also as Gabal El Kaf since there is a story saying that a huge rock was going to fall on the Holy Family during their journey but Jesus managed to stop it with his hand leaving the prints of his palm on it. Sadly the rock with the prints of Jesus has been stolen from Egypt. The Church of Virgin Mary at Gabal El Teir was constructed by during the Roman era by Empress Helena; the mother of Emperor Costantine and this appears clearly in the Roman architectural style of the building. The area of the church was mainly the cave where the Virgin and here son stayed at in the 7th day of their journey and in 328AD the first religious place was constructed there. In the 7th century the first religious place was erecter in that area and was inhabited by many monks including Lord Cursor, Henniker and others till the first half of the 19th century. Saint Severus, the bishop of El Menia, restored the church in 1983 removing the stone roof to make the church taller and adding more residences for monks and visitors. The interior plan of the church comprises of three sanctuaries, two side aisles and return aisle separated with a number of rock-cut columns. For entering the church one should climb a long flight of stairs. Worth admiration in the interior of Virgin Mary Church at Gabal El Tair are the small niches and pilasters with brightly colored icons for monks and saints.

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