Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry has completed the renovation of the Tree of the Virgin site located at Al-Matareya archaeological area.
Dr. Gamal Moustafa, Head of the Islamic and Coptic Antiquities Department, said that this project comes within the ministry`s interest to develop the area and other archaeological sites listed in the Holy Family’s journey.
“The operating work of waterfalls, located next to the tree has been completed,” Moustafa said. “They represent an additional beautiful view to the area.”
“The cafeterias area is well prepared, as well as the lighting system there has been developed. The ministry raised the efficiency of the public park,” he added.
Moustafa stated, “The ministry constructed two galleries in the area to brief visitors on the history of the Holy Family journey in Egypt and the history of the tree.”
Documentaries about the site will be displayed to visitors.
The Tree of the Virgin is a sycamore tree in Al-Matareya suburb of Cairo, Egypt.
According to local beliefs, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph stopped at Al-Matareya (then a small village) on the flight into Egypt. Mary rested and leaned against the tree, then a spring of water sprang up near it for Mary to wash Jesus.
For many years its bark was taken by Christians in the belief that it had miraculous properties. It has been a place of pilgrimage for Coptic Christians for many centuries, who come to pray by it or touch it, believing that it will heal illness. Next to the tree is a small chapel in Al-Matareya.
Contributed by Ahmad El-Assasy