In this article, we embark on a journey through time and culture, exploring the captivating history, architectural splendor, cultural significance, and enduring legacy of Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria.
|Mahatet el-Raml, Alexandria
|Distance from Cairo
Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral is a gem from the heavens reflecting the honor and devotion of the holy men who chose to serve God and become a force of good. Egypt is blessed with a number of divine Coptic attractions found in every corner, especially in Alexandria. The church is the main headquarters of the Pope of Alexandria who is the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
It is considered to be one of the most magical and enchanting historical and religious monuments across the Mediterranean Sea filled with many stories and reflecting the strong faith of a great population.
The cathedral location is believed to be on top of the ancient church of Saint Mark the Evangelist which was built in 42 AD. Saint Mark Evangelist was the sole writer of the second edition of the gospel and has always been connected to the city of Alexandria at the time when the earliest Christian traditions started to happen.
Coptic Christians believe that St Mark came to Alexandria around 42 AD and then lived there for seven years. Mark then embraced Christianity and began to perform various miracles. He constructed the great church of Alexandria and became the first-ever Bishop of the city of Alexandria. Saint Mark was arrested in 68 AD in the festival of Serapis was martyred then buried under his own church.
The story behind the construction of the church started in 311 AD before the last of the Martyrs Pope Peter was martyred, he prayed for one last time on Saint Mark's grave which was just a small chapel found across the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It was enlarged later on by an order from Pope Achilles. The church was heavily damaged during the Arab Invasion of Egypt in 641 AD. In 680 AD Pope John III reconstructed the church and parts of the body of St Mark were taken in 828 AD by an Italian sailor and then transported from Alexandria city to Italy in Venice.
The Church of St Mark was totally damaged in 1219 by the Crusades and rebuilt a couple of times across history. The Church of St Mark inspired many travelers like Pierre Belon the French explorer in 1547 AD. The Church was totally pulled down in 1798 during Alexandria’s French invasion. The church was built again by Pope Peter El Gawly in 1819 during the reign of King Mohammed Ali. During the reign of Pope Demetrius II, the church was renewed under Bishop Marcos's supervision in 1870. In the modern era between the 50s and 90s, the church took its final form.
Saint Mark spent his days in the city of Alexandria preaching the Christian faith which led him to earn the title of the grand bishop of Alexandria. While in Alexandria, he wrote “The Gospel of Mark” which is known to be one of the main four canonical gospels written during the time of the creation of the New Testament.
His work in Alexandria became the seed that led to the rise of a number of outstanding theologians like Athanasius, Origen, and others. Coptic Orthodox Christians have continued to honor and commemorate his legacy to the present day.
The Church was built countless across history but in the early 50s, the church was rebuilt and enlarged then reinforced with solid concrete then followed by the Basilique style. There are 6 marble pillars that were moved to the Church’s outer entrance.
It holds some incredible Coptic engravings and two bells brought all the way from Italy found on each tower. In the mid-80s and 90s, the church was enlarged across the western entrance side plus 6 pillars were moved.
Many believe relics from his body were stolen in 828 AD by Venetian merchants and then transported to Venice. Many believe the head of St Mark is found in his church in Alexandria then parts of his relics are found in St Mark church in Cairo and in St Mark Basilica in Venice Italy. His head has been moved around for over 250 years.
Some of the relics were returned by the general administration of the church from Rome to Alexandria in 1968 AD. Every year on the 30th of Paopi month the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrated the grand commemoration of the Consecration of St Mark Church where his head makes an appearance.
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The entire country of Egypt deserve to be explored with its every heavenly detail but there are places that must be seen before any other such as the breathtaking Hurghada's red sea, The wonders of Cairo the pyramids of Giza, the great sphinx, the Egyptian Museum, Khan El Khalili Bazaar, the wonders of Luxor like Valley of the Kings, Karnak & Hatshepsut temple and the wonders of Aswan such as Abu Simbel temples, Philea temple, Unfinished obelisk and The Wonders of Alexandria like Qaitbat Citadel, Pompey's Pillar and Alexandria Library. Read more about the best places to visit in Egypt.
If you want to apply for a Visa On Arrival that lasts for 30 days then you should be one of the eligible countries, have a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining and pay 25$ USD in cash, as for the E-Visa for 30 day you should have a valid passport for at least 8 months, complete the online application, pay the e-visa fee then print the e-visa to later be presented to the airport border guard. You could also be one of the lucky ones who can obtain a free visa for 90 days. Read more about Egypt travel visa.
Egypt has a variety of delicious cuisines but we recommend “Ful & Ta’meya (Fava Beans and Falafel)”, Mulukhiya, “Koshary”, a traditional Egyptian pasta dish, and Kebab & Kofta, the Egyptian traditional meat dish.
The best time to travel to Egypt is during the winter from September to April as the climate becomes a little tropical accompanied by a magical atmosphere of warm weather with a winter breeze. You will be notified in the week of your trip if the Climate is unsafe and if any changes have been made.
You should pack everything you could ever need in a small bag so you could move easily between your destinations.
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You will feel safe in Egypt as the current atmosphere of the country is quite peaceful after the government took powerful measures like restructuring the entire tourist police to include all the important and tourist attractions in Egypt. Read more about is it safe to travel to Egypt.
Wear whatever feels right and comfortable. It is advised to wear something light and comfortable footwear like a closed-toe shoe to sustain the terrain of Egypt. Put on sun block during your time in Egypt in the summer to protect yourself from the sun.
The best activity is by far boarding a Nile Cruise between Luxor and Aswan or Vise Versa. Witness the beauty of Egypt from a hot balloon or a plane and try all the delicious Egyptian cuisines and drinks plus shopping in old Cairo. Explore the allure and wonders of the red sea in the magical city resorts of Egypt like Hurghada and many more by diving and snorkeling in the marine life or Hurghada. Behold the mesmerizing western desert by a safari trip under the heavenly Egyptian skies.
There are a lot of public holidays in Egypt too many to count either religious or nation, the most important festivals are the holy month of Ramadan which ends with Eid Al Fitr, Christmas and new years eve. Read more about festivals & publich holidays in Egypt.
Egypt is considered to be one of the most liberal Islamic countries but it has become a little bit conservative in the last couple of decades so it is advised to avoid showing your chest, shoulders or legs below the knees.
Arabic is the official language and Most Egyptians, who live in the cities, speak or understand English or at least some English words or phrases. Fewer Egyptians can speak French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Professional tour guides, who work in the tourism sector, are equipped to handle visitors who cannot speak Arabic and they will speak enough English and other languages to fulfill the needs of all our clients.
The fastest way is a car, of course, a taxi. If you are in Cairo ride a white taxi to move faster or you could board the fastest way of transportation in Egypt metro if the roads are in rush hour.
The temperature in Egypt ranges from 37c to 14 c. Summer in Egypt is somehow hot but sometimes it becomes cold at night and winter is cool and mild. The average of low temperatures vary from 9.5 °C in the wintertime to 23 °C in the summertime and the average high temperatures vary from 17 °C in the wintertime to 32 °C in the summertime. The temperature is moderate all along the coasts.
It is the home of everything a traveler might be looking for from amazing historical sites dating to more than 4000 years to enchanting city resorts & beaches. You will live the vacation you deserve as Egypt has everything you could possibly imagine.