Culture Magazine

Babylon Fortress

By Egyking
The Fortress Of Babylon
Nile, within it, lies the Coptic Museum which was erected inside it. It was small, but Emperor Arcadias renewed it and enlarged some parts of it in 395 A.D. This citadel was called Babylon after the name of the capital of Assyrians and this co-ordinate with Jeremiah (46:13-27). Classical historians agreed that the fortress took its name from the town where it was built which was called Babylon, probably derived from the ancient Egyptian name (Pr.Hap.n.Iwn) or (the place of the god Hapi at Heliopolis).
Babylon Fortress
Babylon Fortress
Babylon Fortress
But Diodorus the historian said: the prisoners of the war who were captured by Ramses II disobeyed him and occupied the Habnin citadel on the river side towards Memphis to the north; they fought with the provinces nearby and they didn't stop fighting until Ramses gave them their freedom and security. Finally, they obeyed him and became calm when he permitted them to live in the region, which they called Babylon, in the name of the capital of their home country.
 John Bishop of Nikius in the 7th century A.D. wrote about this fortress the following: Nebuchadnezzar built at this place an old citadel and he called it the citadel of Babylon, this was after his conquest of Egypt, and after exiling the Jews to it, in the wake of the destruction of Jerusalem. But the Arab historians said: the present fortress was built instead of the Babylon citadel which was built by the Persians near here on the top of the mountain and the Romans completed it.
Description of the Fortress:
1- Doubtless, this fortress resembles the Roman Fortresses in Europe and North Africa and from which we can understand its construction. It was built by lime stones and the red stones. The walls of the towers are about 18m height, and their diameter is 31 m, the thickness of the walls is about 3m, the floor of the fortress is lower than the height of St. George Street by 6 meters, and that is because of the accumulations during the ages.
2- The exterior entrance of the Coptic Museum is built on the west gate of the fortress. In the interior of the museum we can visit the south part of the fortress where 2 enormous bastions still stand with a magnificent ancient gateway between them. In one of the bastions there was a mill; near which was an oven for baking bread. On one of the 2 bastions the hanging church is set. It rests on a huge pillar built of burnt- bricks. While the other part of the church and part of the old wing of the museum, are built on the columned hall and on the 2 other halls.
3- The fortress is flanked by 2 enormous towers. One can still be seen, while the other is hidden beneath the Greek church of St. George. The Nile flowed under these towers and boats were moored there. Recent excavations show that there was a river harbor between these 2 enormous towers…  

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