The Virgin Mary's Tree
The Tree of the Virgin is a sycamore tree in the El Matareya suburb of Cairo, Egypt. According to local beliefs, the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph stopped at El Matareya (then a small village) on the Flight into Egypt. Mary rested against the tree and 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 El Matareya.