The Roman Towers

The Echoes of Babylon: Roman Towers and the Church of St. George

In the heart of Cairo, where time has woven a tapestry of civilizations, we encounter the remnants of a mighty fortress known as Babylon. A testament to ancient engineering and the indomitable spirit of the Roman Emperor Trajan, this fortress was established in AD 98. The very name “Babylon” is believed to be a poetic nod to its Pharaonic predecessor, “Per-hapi-en-on,” signifying the “Estate of the Nile God at On.”

Today, Babylon stands as a symbol of resilience, reduced to two imposing round towers that once guarded its western gate. These towers, weathered by the ages, were integral to the defenses of the Riverfront. Imagine, in their prime, the mighty Nile’s waters lapping against their sturdy foundations. As you explore, take a moment to gaze upon the southern tower. Here, excavations have unveiled a glimpse of the ancient quay, hidden deep below street level. Atop the northern tower, a spiritual sanctuary awaits—the Greek Orthodox Monastery and the Church of St. George.

The Church of St. George takes its name from one of Christianity’s most beloved saints. St. George’s story is one of unwavering faith and courage. A Palestinian conscript in the Roman army, he met his fate in AD 303, bravely resisting Emperor Diocletian’s decree that sought to quell the practice of Christianity. This dedication to St. George in 1909 is a continuation of a tradition that began in 10th-century Coptic Cairo.

Step inside, and you’ll discover a history etched in the very walls. While the interior bears scars from a fire long ago, its stained-glass windows and a ceiling adorned with resplendent green tiles still exude a timeless beauty. Nearby, the monastery remains closed to visitors, shrouded in contemplation. Each year, on April 23, the Coptic Moulid of Mar Girgis celebrates the saint’s enduring legacy.

As you stand amidst these ancient towers and within the sanctuary of St. George, you’re not merely a traveler in space but a witness to the echoes of history. Here, in the heart of Cairo, the past and present intertwine, inviting you to delve deeper into the rich tapestry of Egypt’s enduring spirit.

Created On May 4, 2020

Updated On January 26, 2024

CAIRO Travel Guide
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