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Cave Church (St. Simon the Tanner Monastery)
Cave Church (St. Simon the Tanner Monastery)

Cave Church (St. Simon the Tanner Monastery)

Free admission
Mokattam Mountain, Qism El­-Khalifa, Cairo, Egypt

The Basics

In Cairo’s Garbage City (Manshiyat Naser), the approach to the Cave Church is a pungent experience, with garbage collectors sifting Cairo’s unsorted waste for recyclable and reusable goods. Yet with space for around 17,000 worshippers, the scale of one of the largest churches in the Middle East impresses—as do the smaller cave churches around it, one of which houses what pilgrims believe is the body of St. Simon.

Many travelers feel most comfortable booking a private guide or joining a tour, to avoid navigating the warren of narrow streets on their own or trying to figure out public transit. Some tours stop by the Cave Church along with much older Coptic churches, such as the Hanging Church or the Church of St. Sergius and Bacchus; other excursions delve deep into Zabbaleen lifestyles, with home visits or recycling factory tours.

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Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
star-4.5
$25.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Church day
This was a great trip and amazing to see all the religious history behind Cairo. You should really do this trip.
Levi_M, Jul 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Cairo

star-5
Coptic Cairo, Cave Churches
Steven_M, Jun 2022
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
Coptic Cairo is well worth the experience, with the hanging church being particularly impressive. However, the highlight has to be the cave churches. They are truly large and very awe inspiring, and made all the more impressive by the fact that they are constructed by people from the garbage city slum that you drive through in order to get there. Seeing how some of the poorest people in Egypt live is quite an eye opening experience for westerners.
star-5
Amazing tour
Nazrana_S, May 2022
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
We booked the tour at the last minute, but our guide and driver showed up for us and the tour was well organised. The tour was very interesting. We enjoyed the old churches more than the cave church overall. The history and architecture of Coptic Cairo is extraordinary. Our guide, Yusuf, was very knowledgeable and prepared
star-5
Great tour of holy sites
Aaron_J, May 2022
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
This was a fun tour that brought us to so many historical holy sites. Our driver and guide were both amazing. Our guide wend above and beyond to explain the significance of each site. Highly recommend!
star-4
Awesome tour. The cave...
Lucas_R, May 2022
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
Awesome tour. The cave church is amazing. Nice opportunity to see a different side on Egyptian culture.
star-5
Tour guide was great and informative.
Scott_K, Oct 2021
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
It was very cool to see the extensive history of the churches. Impact of multiple civilizations. And the journey just to get to the Cave Church was fascinating and illuminating.
star-5
Do not miss this!
Jerry_R, Jul 2021
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
Wow! What a great job by Mazen to tell us all the stories and illustrations of these places. It was a very special day that we will never forget.
star-5
Must see!
Jon_H, Jul 2021
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
It was fascinating to learn so much about the history of christianity in Egypt. Essam was a fantastic, friendly guide. Thank you!
star-5
Interesting trip
Mamdouh_A, Jun 2021
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
It was a nice trip with our guide Essam. He is very kind and told much interesting informations about the places what we visited. Agam, the driver is also a great man.
star-5
Coptic churches
bgugiu, Feb 2020
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
Yasser took us to the Coptic cave churches and some Old churches of apocryphal fame. Interesting and enjoyable. On the way you will see Cairo’s garbage neighborhood, where the recycling takes place.
star-5
COPTIC CIRO
Angie_L, Jan 2020
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
Fabulous tour, the cave churches were unbelievably beautiful . Our guide was friendly and informative.
star-5
Coptic churches.
Divakaran_A, Nov 2019
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
Pick up was on time and the guide very knowledgeable. He provided us with good information about the churches we visited.
star-5
Church Tour
WAYNE_H, Nov 2019
Coptic Cairo Tour: Cave Church of Saint Simon and Old Cairo churches
Car and tour leader on time. Very Informational. Also, very safe. They had armed guards at all the tourist locations.
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Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Cave Church is a good choice for Christians, anyone interested in environmental issues, and fans of the bizarre.

  • The church is a place of worship in conservative Cairo. Be sure to dress and behave respectfully.

  • Always ask permission from local residents before taking photos.

  • The Cave Church isn’t accessible to wheelchairs.

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How to Get There

Set in Mokattam (Muqattam or el-Mokattam) mountain in the Manshiyat Naser district—about a 6-mile (9-kilometer) drive east of Tahrir Square—the Cave Church is best reached with a private driver or on an organized tour.

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When to Get There

Coptic Orthodox Christians worship on Fridays and Sundays, which means the church becomes extremely crowded. Visit outside those days for a more serene experience. Avoid the Christmas period and Orthodox Easter.

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The Mokattam Mountain Miracle

Some know the Cave Church complex as the Mokattam Mountain Church. Coptic Orthodox Christians believe that St. Simon the Tanner moved the Mokattam mountain during the 10th century, proving the value of Christianity and saving Egypt’s Copts from mass murder. Worshippers at the Cave Church credit its successful foundation to a number of more recent miracles—seek out a local guide to find out more.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Cave Church (St. Simon the Tanner Monastery)?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Cairo?
A:
As well as visiting the Cave Church (St. Simon the Tanner Monastery), check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: