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Review of Ben Ezra Synagogue

Ben Ezra Synagogue
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Half-Day Private Guided Tour of Coptic Cairo with Lunch
Ranked #45 of 311 things to do in Cairo
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The oldest existing synagogue in Cairo was originally a church in the 8th century.
Ronneby, Sweden
Level Contributor
783 reviews
496 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 376 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 July 2010

Beautiful, but no photo allowed, which always is a downside to a sight. Besides the tales of the spot and the decorations inside this sight is nothing more. Worth a short visit to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the feeling of being on so (if you believe the stories) classical ground such as the time of Moses.

2 Thank dgjohansson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Warren, Massachusetts
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1,109 reviews
672 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,655 helpful votes
“A Monument to Jewish History in Egypt”
Reviewed 5 May 2009

Jewish history in Egypt begins with the enslavement of the Jews under the pharaohs and their subsequent deliverance by Moses. By the time of the founding of the Jewish State in 1948 many Jews returned to Israel on their own, but when Egypt went to war with Israel, any Jews remaining in Egypt were expelled. Monuments to the Jewish religion are scarce in this country, so this synagogue is open as a museum and no longer is used for services.

Upon entering you will find a marble shrine which contains a rock that Moses supposedly prayed at. The building was put up in the 8th century as a church and later converted to a synagogue, so this tradition might be in doubt. Perhaps the Coptic church valued the same rock and there is something to it. The space has many of the same features of early Christian churches in terms of long nave, and two side aisles, similar roof construction, and so forth. The space is flooded with light from windows on both sides of the nave and the place has a hallowed feeling about it. During restoration in the nineteenth century, thousands of documents were discovered in the synagogue's treasury dating back to the Middle Ages.

On the day of my visit there were lots of people paying their respects to this monument. Pay close attention to street signs showing the way. Signage isn't so good in Coptic Cairo. The old city lies about twelve feet below the level of the modern city.

4 Thank redeco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vienna, VA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“site of Cairo Geniza”
Reviewed 14 July 2006

The Ben Ezra Synagogue is not easy to find on your own. Start by getting yourself to Coptic Cairo, the old city known as Fustat. Go down the stairs and into a warren of alleys. If you can find the Hanging Church, you are almost there. There are no signs to lead you. The synagogue has been beautifully restored, although it is no longer in active use as a house of worship. You can take photos of the outside but not the inside.

9 Thank nosayat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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