The Coptic Museum is one of the Highlights of Old Cairo. It is
founded in 1908. Its peerless collection of Coptic artifacts is
enhanced by the beautiful carved ceilings, beams and
stained-glass domes inside its mashrabiya’d wings, which enclose
peaceful gardens. With artifact from Old Cairo, Upper Egypt and
the desert monasteries, the museum traces the evolution of
Coptic art from Greco Roman times into the Islamic era (300-1000
The Coptic museums consists of 2 wings: The new Wing built in
1937 and the Old Wing.
The Old Wing contains an original fourth-century altar, a
Fatimid era dome, Nubian wall paintings, wooden works, several
mummy portrait panels, friezes of hunting scenes, pottery,
Pilgrims’ flasks and finally a small collection of glassware.
A panel depicting Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, taken from the
Hanging Church is one of the high points in this wing.
The New Wing contains pagan reliefs and statues of figures from
classical mythology, pharaonic ankhs transmuted into looped
crosses, stone carvings and frescoes from Bawit Monastery, near
Assyut, objects from the monastery of St. Jeremiah at Saqqara,
biblical scenes, friezes of animals, several papyrus sheets from
the Gnostic Gospels of Nagaa Hamadi, a 1600-year-old towel
presaging a host of textiles, ivory work and icons from Old
Cairo, Aswan and Kharga Oasis, lots of metal-works and finally
an exhibition of Nubian paintings .
One of the nicest collection of this wing is the splendid apse
niche depicting Christ enthroned between the creatures of the
Apocalypse and the moon and the sun; below, the Virgin and the
Child consort with Apostles. Another one is the tenth-century
panel from Fayoum depicting Adam and Eve before and after the
Fall for which he blames her in the latter scene.