Mosque of Al-Aqmar
Al-Aqmar mosque is located on al‑Mo’ez
Street, and was commissioned by the Fatimid Caliph al‑‘Amir Bi‑Ahkam Allah in
519 AH / 1125 AD. The mosque’s construction was supervised by the Vizier
al‑Ma’mun al‑Bata’ihi, and it was renewed during the reign of Sultan Barquq in
799 AH / 1397 AD under the supervision of the governor Yalbugha al‑Salmi.
The main façade of the mosque is
presently the oldest surviving stone façade. Its architecture is characterized
by its intricate stone carvings and the repetition of the phrase “Muhammad and
Ali”, in addition to Qur’anic verses written in the Kufic script. The
engineer’s ingenuity is most manifest in his ability to orient the façade to
the street, whilst maintaining the direction of prayer inside the mosque.
The mosque consists of an open
courtyard at its center surrounded by four riwaqs (arcades) topped by shallow
domes, the largest of which marks the qibla, the direction of prayer. An
inscription above the mihrab (niche in the wall of a mosque marking the qibla)
records the renovations that were undertaken by Yalbugha al‑Salmi.
Located on Salah al‑Din Square (or
Maydan al‑Qal’a “Citadel Square”), al‑Rifa’i Mosque was built in the nineteenth
century to complement its fourteenth‑century neighbor, the mosque of al‑Sultan
Hasan. It is a monumental structure that dwarfs the surrounding landscape. The
mosque gets its name from Imam Ahmad al‑Rifa’i (512–578 AH/1118–1181/2 AD), who
founded the Rifa’i tariqa (Sufi path).
The original structure was a Fatimid
mosque, which was then transformed into a shrine for Ali abu Sheibak. Finally,
Ottoman queen Kosheir Hanim commissioned the current design of the mosque and
put in charge of the construction the architect Hussein Pasha Fahmi. Part of
the plan was to have a mausoleum for the royal family as part of the extension,
which was made by imported building materials from Europe, such as Italian
marble. In addition to traditional raw materials, cement has also been employed
in the construction of the mosque—a first for any Islamic monument in
Egypt—signaling the transition into modern times.
Al‑Rifa’i Mosque’s architectural
design is as interesting as its construction history. Visitors stand in awe of
the detailed decoration of the outer walls and massive columns of the outer
gate. The minarets are distinguished by their beauty and elegance.
While a section of the mosque is
dedicated to prayers, another is reserved for the members of the family of
Muhammad Ali Pasha, which was in power from the early nineteenth century until
the 1952 revolution, when the modern Egyptian republic was born. Khedive Ismail
and his mother koshiyar Qadin, as well as Kings Fuad I and Faruq, the last two
rulers of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, are buried here, all enshrined in elaborate
tombs. The mosque briefly also served as the burial place of Reza Shah (king)
of Iran (d.1363 AH/1944 AD), but he was returned to his home country following
the end of World War II. Part of his burial chamber, however, is occupied by
his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (d. 1400 AH/1980 AD), the last Shah of Iran.
Sultan Hasan Mosque
The Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan
Hasan is one of the largest and architecturally exquisite mosques in all of
Egypt. It was commissioned by the Mamluk sultan Hasan Ibn Al‑Nasir Muhammad Ibn
Qalawun sometime between 757 AH/1356 AD and 764 AH/1363 AD, and is located at
the end of Muhammad Ali Street, opposite its nineteenth century neighbor
al‑Rifa’i mosque in al‑Qalaa.
Its proximity to the citadel
ultimately resulted in its use as a fort by enemies several times throughout
its history. Some sultans seriously considered demolishing it because enemy
armies would use the mosques high platforms to launch attacks on the citadel.
Like most Islamic monuments in Cairo,
this one has also undergone several phases of reconstruction, up until the
twentieth century. The interior and exterior domes of the mosque are extremely
ornate, and their designs may have been inspired by Armenian art and
A monumental iwan opens up on each of
the four sides of the interior square courtyard. An iwan is a vaulted
rectangular space that is open on one side. Doorways at the four corners of the
courtyard allow access into four madrasas, educational institutions, where the
four Sunni Islamic schools were taught.
Al‑Hakim bi‑Amr Allah Mosque
The Mosque of al‑Hakim bi‑Amr Allah
is the fourth oldest mosque in Egypt, and the second largest after the Mosque
of ibn Tulun. The construction of the mosque was begun by al‑Hakim’s father,
the Fatimid Caliph Al‑Aziz bi‑Allah in 379 AH/989 AD, but he died before its
completion, leaving his son to finish it in 403 AH/1013 AD. The mosque is
located at the end of al‑Mo’ez Street in Al-Gammalia district, between Bab
al‑Futuh and Bab al‑Nasr.
The main entrance lies on the western
side of the mosque, and is monumental in size and design. It is one of the
oldest architectural examples of projecting stone porches, and was influenced
by the great Mosque of Mahdiya in Tunis. The mosque once served as a Shiite
center in Egypt, and is comparable to the role Al‑Azhar Mosque would later play
for Sunni Islam.
The mosque has a long and intriguing
history, including its role as a barracks during the French campaign, when its
minarets were utilized as watch-towers. Originally, the mosque was constructed
as an enclosure by the Fatimid Vizier Gawhar Al‑Siqilli (382 AH/992 AD), and
was later incorporated into the fortifications built by the general Badr Al‑Gamali
(d. 487 AH/1094 AD). The plan of the mosque consists of an irregular triangle
with four arcades centering a courtyard. Two minarets flank either side of the
façade, and they have undergone several restoration phases throughout their
Al-Hussein Mosque is the closest to the
hearts of Egyptians and Muslims all over the world. For Egyptians, Al-Hussein district is not
only a residential district but also a spiritual and historical one for housing
Al-Hussein Mosque. Al-Hussein or Sayyidna Al-Hussein was the grandson of
Prophet Mohammad peace and prayer be upon him and each year Egyptians hold a
ceremony to celebrate his birth in Al-Hussein district.
The Mosque was built during the Fatimid
reign and it has three white-marble doors overlooking Khan El-Khalili area and
another door next to the mosque’s dome known as the green door.
When first established, the mosque was a
shrine built by El-Saleh Talai from stone. It had three doors, two minarets,
and a dome on top of the mausoleum. It
is believed that head of Imam Al-Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammad, is
buried at the mosque.
During the Ayuubid era, Salah El-Din took
care of the mosque and built a madrassa to teach the four Sunni schools of
Islamic jurisprudence. He also expanded the mosque and the shrine inside it
without its original structure after it was burned because of the candles lit
by the mosque's visitors. Then Amir Abdel Rahman Katkhuda rebuilt the mosque
adding two iwans and a water fountain.
When Khedive Ismail ruled Egypt, he ordered
to restore and expand the mosque, which took ten years to complete. Then in 1953,
the Egyptian government expanded the mosque to be on a total area of 3340 m2.
It established an administrative building, a library at the eastern side along
the mosque’s dome, and a women’s prayer area.
In the first year of the eighties of the
20th century, the Egyptian Antiquities Authority restored the holy shrine and
Al-Hussein Mosque has a prophetic monuments
hall built by Khedive Abbas Helmi II in 18963, Imam Al-Hussein’s shrine, and
the world’s biggest chandelier.
The mosque is located at the beginning of
Haret Housh Qadm on El-Mo’ez Street. It was built by El-Khalifa El-Zafer
Bi-Nasr Allah Abu Mansour Ismail in 543 AH and 1148 AD. In the early 15th
century, Amir Yashbak Ben Mahdy decorated the mosque and demolished all
buildings blocking the view.
The mosque has two entrances leading to the
mosque’s courtyard covered with a decorated ceiling and a minbar in the middle,
which is surrounded by four iwans. The four iwans are characterized by its
simple structure without any inscription or marble skirting.
The Mosque, Sabil, Kuttab of
Suliman Agha El-Silehdar
The Mosque, Sabil, and Kuttab of Suliman
Agha El-Silehdar is the jewel of El-Mo’ez Street and it is one the most unique
and magnificent Islamic monuments in Cairo
The mosque is located on El-Mo’ez Street and
it was built by Prince Suliman Agha El-Silehdar in the ottoman style. It is
divided into three riwaqs (arcades) and attached to it a sabil, a kuttab, and
The main façade of the buildings which
overlook El-Mo’ez Street includes the facades of the mosque, madrassa, and
Sabil, which all built of stone, while the sabil façade covered with white
marble and inscriptions. In the entrance, there is a staircase leads to the
mosque’s courtyard which is surrounded by four arcades (riwaqs) supported by
The mosque is famous for its pencil-like minaret,
and it is full of wooden decorations combining oriental and western
A vow to Allah, this is the reason why
Sultan Al-Muayyad established this grand museum on Al-Mo’ez Street in 818 A.H
and 1415 AD. It took 5 years to finish the establishment of the mosque. Al-Sultan Al-Muayyad was one of Al-Zaher
Barquq’s mamluks before he ruled Egypt.
The Mosque’s Description
Al-Muayyad Mosque is one of Cairo’s largest
mosques and an architectural masterpiece. The entrance of the mosque belonged
to the Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, and Al-Sultan Al-Muayyad bought it along with
a copper furnace and attached it to the mosque. After the entrance, there is
Sultan Al-Muayyad’s mausoleum and next to it the mausoleum of his son Ibrahim,
who died at a young age. On the left, there is a Sabil, built for visitors of
the mosque and passersby.
The mosque consists of an open courtyard
surrounded by 4 arcades (riwaqs), the tallest and biggest of which is the one
toward al-qibla whose wall is covered with colored marble.
The mosque has two minarets built on top of
the two towers of Bab Zuweila. Each has three decorated and inscribed levels.
The mosque also has four facades, the main entrance of the mosque is on the
eastern façade and has a double staircase and a tall door covered with
As for the mosque’s dome, it is built from
stone and has a marble floor. The dome has two tombs of Sultan Al-Muayyad and