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The Roman Towers

Introduction

Babylon was the name of a fortress created by the Roman emperor, Trajan, in AD 98.  It was probably a paraphrase of “Per-hapi-en-on, meaning Estate of the Nile God at On – the then Pharaonic name for the area.  Currently, the fortress has been reduced to just two round towers of its western gate.

Then, these two towers were part of defenses of Riverfront. Otherwise, the Nile would have lapped right up against them. Feel free to have a good look at the southern tower, and you will find out that some excavations there showed part of the ancient quay, situated far below street level.  The top of the northern tower holds the Greek Orthodox Monastery and Church of St George.

Greek Orthodox Monastery & Church of St George

As one of the most famous favorite Christian saints, it was not unexpected that the church would be named after him.  You can access both the Church of St. George and the Greek Orthodox Monastery from the first doorway, situated towards the north of the museum gate.

St. George was a Palestinian conscript serving in the army of the Romans, until his AD 303 execution, on the bases of his resistance to the decree of Emperor Diocletian, which forbade anyone from practicing Christianity. Although this particular dedication was in 1909, the first church to be dedicated to St. George was in Coptic Cairo in the 10th century.

A quick look at the interior will show that it was once burnt, although the stained-glass windows and the ceiling, which is in green tiles, are still bright.  Visitors are not permitted to visit the nearby monastery. There is the annual saint’s festival – Coptic Moulid of Mar Girgis on every April 23.