Egypt has been home since the time of Christ to an ancient sect of Christians called the Copts. According to legend, Mark the Evangelist founded their first church in Alexandria in the 1st century ad, when Egypt was under Roman rule and practised polytheistic religions. Though Egypt long ago became a Muslim nation, the Copts maintained their traditions and practised their rites at monasteries and villages throughout the Nile Valley, the river delta and the Mediterranean coast, and still do today. Beautiful antique textiles, mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, frescos, bookbindings and monuments attest to their rich and venerable culture, which drew inspiration from Hellenistic, Egyptian and Near Eastern art. Modern Copts are the living descendants of the ancient Egyptians, heirs to a splendid and unique patrimony.
Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd