When was Ben Ezra Synagogue built, and where is it located?  

Located deep in the winding alleys of Coptic Cairo, Ben Ezra Synagogue is the oldest Jewish temple in Cairo, dating from the 9th century AD. Like almost all of Egypt’s synagogues, it is simply a tourist attraction today following the departure of nearly all of Egypt’s significant Jewish community during the 1950s after the founding of Israel and the Free Officers’ Revolution, but this site still holds great importance in the contemporary history of Judaism. The 19th-century discovery a huge cache of documents, the synagogue’s treasury, which recorded the history and transactions of Cairo’s Jewish community since the 11th century, provided the most complete account of medieval Jewry anywhere in the world. These documents, however, are now held at Cambridge University in England.

Two separate myth state that the synagogue is built on the site where the pharaoh’s daughter found Moses hidden in the reeds of the Nile or on the site of the Temple of Jeremiah.


What is a Synagogue?

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a synagogue is best described as a place where the Jews do their prayers. Also, back in old Greek times, Synagogue means the place where the Jews receive the religious teachings and the place of worshipping God. 

The Synagogue of Ben Ezra in Cairo was originally known as El-Shamieen Church, and it is located today behind the famous Hanging church in the area of old Cairo. 

The Synagogue once had an old copy of the Old Testament, and it is believed that the prophet Ezra or Al-Azir had written it. It is also believed that the site of the Synagogue is where the box of Baby Moses was found and taken by the wife of the pharaoh at that time. 

The Synagogue of Ben Ezra was originally a Christian church that the Christians sold to the Jews, in 882 A.D to be able to pay the annual taxes imposed by the Muslim rulers at that time. As a consequence, Abraham Ben Ezra, who came from Jerusalem during Ahmed Ibn Tulun’s reign, bought the church for 20,000 dinars.  


Throughout the past centuries, the Synagogue received regular restorations and renovations. The building that exists now dates back to 1892 after the original collapse. It was built in the shape of a basilica or a rectangular shape, consisting of 2 floors. The first floor is dedicated to the men while the second one is dedicated to women, and the entrance is located on the north side.  


Suggested Tours
Duration: 16 hours Tour type: Private

Get to know the city of Cairo on this guided, full-day adventure of Luxor Tours. Fly from Luxor, on the east bank of the Nile River, to Egypt's capital city for a compr

Duration: 14 hours Tour type: Private

Fly from Hurghada to Cairo to get a glimpse of the heart of Egypt. Day Trip from Hurghada to Pyramids With our guide, you will visit the Giza Pyramids and the Great Sphinx,

Duration: 8 hours Tour type: Private

Explore Cairo Tours the most beautiful religious spots in Egypt during this 8-hour day trip to Coptic and Islamic Cairo. Let your informative tour guide lead you around the

Duration: 16 hours Tour type: Private

In a private over day tour from Aswan to Cairo with domestic flight, private guide, private transportation and lunch included Visit the main attractions and masterpieces of

Duration: 12 hours Tour type:

Safaga Shore Excursions Tours: One day tour Safaga to Luxor Visiting the Highlights of luxor West and East Bank that includes a visit to Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsute Te

You Might Also Like

The Egyptian Museum is hard to miss on any tour of Cairo. Opening in 1902, it was purpose-built to house the antiquit

The Synagogue of Ben Ezra is situated behind the hanging church. It is believed that the site of the Synagogue was wh

The Coptic Museum lies behind the walls of the famous Roman fortress of Babylon in the ancient district of Cairo (Mis

The Solar Boat Museum is situated to the south of the Great pyramid. It was established by Kamal El, read more.

The Hanging Church is situated in Old Cairo, it dates back to the late third century and the beginning of the fourth

The Cairo Tower is considered one of the most prominent features of the Egyptian capital. It was built from 1956 to 1

The Mosque of Ibn Tulun was built as the ceremonial center of the new capital Al-Qatta’i. Read on to know more!

The Mosque of Amr Ibn Al As is the first Mosque in Egypt. The glory of this Mosque come from being the announcement o

Khan El Khalili is located 12 km from downtown- Cairo. Khan El Khalili market is situated at one corner of a triangle