Ben Ezra Synagogue

Ben Ezra Synagogue

Ben Ezra Synagogue is situated in Old Cairo, Egypt. It was originally named El-Shamieen Church, and is situated behind the "hanging church". The Synagogue once had an old copy of the Old Testament, and it was said that Ezra the Prophet (Al-Azir) had written it. It is believed that the site of the Synagogue where the box of Baby Moses was found.

 
In 882A.D, Ben Ezra was originally a Christian church that the Copts had to sell, to the Jews, in order to pay the annual taxes imposed by the Muslim rulers of the time, and therefore Abraham Ben Ezra, who came from Jerusalem during the reign of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, bought the church for the sum of 20,000 dinars.
 
 The present state of the Synagogue is not its original state. It received extensive restorations and renovations through the centuries. The present building dates back to 1892. The original state had collapsed and a new one was built, echoing it.
 
 Ben Ezra Synagogue is built in the shape of a rectangle basilica, consisting of 2 floors; the 1st dedicated for the men while the 2nd is dedicated for the women. The entrance is situated on the north side. The first floor is measuring 17m in length and 11.3m wide. It is divided into 3 parts, the largest being the middle one (4.75 m in width); these parts are divided by steel bars painted in a marble-like colour. 
 
 There is a platform located in front of the sanctuary, where the rabbi stands to read the Torah. The lector platform is in an octagonal shape and is made of marble. A copper fence is situated on the 8th side of the platform, where the Torah, and its rolls, is rested. There is a memorial Stella located in front of the platform. In the middle of this Stella is a top part consisting of 2 semi-arches carried on 3 pillars, with a height of 85cm. there are 2 rooms on each side of the Holy Ark on the 1st floor.
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Egypt Attractions