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Mosques PDF Print E-mail

Mosques in Cairo:

 There are many historical mosques in Egypt, mostly in Cairo, that date from the earliest periods of Islam up to modern times. Listed below, are a number of  mosques that truly reflect the splendor of Islamic architecture. So, why not take a moment of your itinerary to appreciate these grand monuments to Islam.


1. The Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan

 This is truly the finest example of early Mamluk architecture. The founder of this massive monument was Sultan Hassan, son of the great Mamluk Sultan, Al Nasser Mohamed Ibn Qalawoun. Sultan Hassan was a ruler of Egypt twice; the first time when he was only 13 years old was in 1347, the second began in 1356 and lasted until 1361. The mosque comprised a school, or Madrasa, for the teachings of the four main schools of the Sunni sect, and is considered to be one of the largest mosques not only in Egypt but in the whole world..

2. The Mosque of El-Hakim

 El-Hakim Mosque is the second largest Fatimid mosque in Cairo. The mosque was started in 990 by the Caliph El-Aziz, the son of Caliph Al-Moez, and was completed in 1013 by his son El-Hakim who was the founder of the Egyptian Druze sect.Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, literally, "Ruler by God's Command", he declared himself a divine entity. The building served as a prison for captive Crusaders (they used as a church), a lamp factory, and a boys' elementary school under Nasser. Originally, the mosque stood outside the enclosure walls of Fatimid Cairo until Badr al-Gamali rebuilt the Northern Wall to include the El-Hakim mosque within the boundaries of the enclosed city. Recently it was beautifully restored by Al-Bahara (Shi’a sect) made it one of the most attractive and magnificent Islamic monument within the walls of the old city of Cairo.

3. El-Aqmar Mosque

 The mosque is located in the heart of the Fatimid city (AD 1125). Al-Aqmar, which means "The Moonlit", sometimes also known as the Gray Mosque. It was founded by Ma'mun al-Bata'ihi, during the caliphate of al-Mustansir. It was built during a time of great political and spiritual crises for the Fatimid regime.It is also the first mosque in Cairo to have a decorated stone facade. The facade is brick faced with stone. It is located within the old walls of the old city of Cairo near Al-Hakim mosque.

4. The Mosque of Muhammad Ali

 The mosque is located in the Citadel of Saladin.  It was built by Muhammad Ali Pasha (the founder of modern Egypt) between 1830 and 1848, although not completed until the reign of Said Pasha in 1857. The architect of the mosque was Yusuf Bushnak from Istanbul who built it on the same style of Sultan Ahmad mosque in Istanbul (known as the Blue Mosque). The mosque is known as the Alabaster Mosque because of the extensive use of that stone on some of its interior and exterior walls. The mosque has a brass clock tower, which was presented to Muhammad Ali by King Louis Philippe of France in 1845. The clock was reciprocated with the obelisk of Luxor, now standing in Place de la Concorde in Paris. The pencil shaped minarets of the mosque, over eighty meters high, stand on bases only three meters wide.

5. Al-Azhar Mosque

 Established in 972 (361 H), by the Fatimids (the founders of Cairo) shortly after the founding the city, so it is the first Fatimid monument in Egypt. Al-Azhar was originally designed by the Fatimid general Jawhar El-Sequili and built on the orders of Caliph Muezz Li-Din Allah. The mosque was named “Al-Azhar" after Fatama al-Zahraa, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon Him). The architecture of the mosque is a mix of styles reflecting the different periods and influences Egypt had passed through. It became a teaching institute under Yaqoub Ibn Cals. It is one of the oldest Islamic universities in the world, where the first lecture was delivered in 975 AD, lectures were given inside the mosque, but now the university is built around it, and the Mosque is reserved for prayer. In addition to the religious studies, modern schools of medicine, science and foreign languages have also been added.

6. The Mosque of Amr Ibn El-Aas

 The first mosque built in Egypt and Africa. It was established in 642 AD (21 AH) by Amr (An Arab general who came to Egypt to fight against the Roman and was hailed by the Copts as a liberator). The mosque is Located in Fustat, the first Islamic capital in Egypt. It served not only as a place of worship but also as a court for settling religious and civil disputes, a school for teaching Quranic sciences, and the narrations of Prophet Muhammad, some 600 years before the foundation of Al- Azhar mosque in Cairo.

7. Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun

 Ahmed Ibn Tulun ( 263-265 A.H ) was one of the Turkish commanders in Samarra in Iraq. His intelligence and courage attracted the attention of the Caliph, later, he established himself as an independent ruler for Egypt. Ahmed Ibn Tulun founded a new Capital called Alqatai. This mosque is considered the third largest mosque in the world. It was built on an outcrop of rock called Gabal Yashkur (AD 876-879). It is nearly square in shape, measures 162 m. in length and 161 m. in width with 128 windows. The minaret, with its spiral exterior staircase is a famous Cairo landmark. It is completely unique in its design, and is climbed by many visitors seeking for a nice spectacular panoramic view for the old city of Cairo.

**Please dress conservatively when visiting churches and mosques. Gentlemen should avoid shorts and ladies should avoid mini-skirts, shorts, transparent (see-through) or tight clothing, and tank tops. A headscarf is recommended for ladies while visiting mosques.Whilst inside mosques, visitors are kindly requested to take off shoes, so we recommend slip off shoes. Also please be aware that intimate behavior; i.e. holding hands or kissing is not acceptable inside churches and mosques. While photography is permissable inside mosques, it is polite to ask permission if you intend to photograph people.