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After 16 years, Egypt finishes restoration of Hanging Church, famous Coptic landmark in Cairo

  • Children play soccer in front of an old building in the vast necropolis known as the City of the Dead in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. The structure was originally built as a palace in Cairo's Garden City neighborhood in the 1820s. Its facade was moved to the current location in the early 1900s, remodeled as a home and served until it was abandoned. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    Children play soccer in front of an old building in the vast necropolis known as the City of the Dead in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. The structure was originally built as a palace in Cairo's Garden City neighborhood in the 1820s. Its facade was moved to the current location in the early 1900s, remodeled as a home and served until it was abandoned. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Tawadros II, the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, second left, and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, center, attend a ceremony marking the end of a $5.4 million restoration project of the Hanging Church in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Egyptian officials are celebrating the completion of a 16-year old restoration project of Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Church, also known as the Hanging Church, one of the oldest in the country that owes the nickname to the fact that it rests above a gatehouse of a 2nd century Roman fortress. The church lies in a complex housing one of the oldest synagogues and the first mosque built in Cairo. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    Pope Tawadros II, the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, second left, and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, center, attend a ceremony marking the end of a $5.4 million restoration project of the Hanging Church in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Egyptian officials are celebrating the completion of a 16-year old restoration project of Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Church, also known as the Hanging Church, one of the oldest in the country that owes the nickname to the fact that it rests above a gatehouse of a 2nd century Roman fortress. The church lies in a complex housing one of the oldest synagogues and the first mosque built in Cairo. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Tawadros II, the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, left, and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, right, attend a ceremony marking the end of a $5.4 million restoration project of the Hanging Church in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Egyptian officials are celebrating the completion of a 16-year old restoration project of Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Church, also known as the Hanging Church, one of the oldest in the country that owes the nickname to the fact that it rests above a gatehouse of a 2nd century Roman fortress. The church lies in a complex housing one of the oldest synagogues and the first mosque built in Cairo. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    Pope Tawadros II, the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, left, and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, right, attend a ceremony marking the end of a $5.4 million restoration project of the Hanging Church in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Egyptian officials are celebrating the completion of a 16-year old restoration project of Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Church, also known as the Hanging Church, one of the oldest in the country that owes the nickname to the fact that it rests above a gatehouse of a 2nd century Roman fortress. The church lies in a complex housing one of the oldest synagogues and the first mosque built in Cairo. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

After 16 years, Egypt has completed the restoration of a famous Cairo landmark — the Saint Virgin Mary's Coptic Church, also known as the Hanging Church.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and the country's Coptic Christian pope, Tawadros II, attended the Saturday's ceremony marking the end of the $5.4 million restoration project.

The Hanging Church, one of the country's oldest, owes the nickname to the fact that it rests above a gatehouse of a 2nd century Roman fortress. It was the seat of the Coptic pope from the 7th to the 13th century.

Mahlab says the restoration took long because of "engineering challenges" in dealing with underground waters that threatened the area's antiquities.

It lies in a complex housing one of the oldest synagogues and the first mosque built in Cairo.