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Islamic Egypt

Visitors to Egypt find it remarkable that the story of a civilization more than 50 centuries old could be so eloquently told by the variety of monuments which stand throughput the land. Born on the Banks of the Nile as early as the third millennium B.C., Egyptian civilitazion developed to achieve unprecendatred peaks in architecture, sculpture and painting. True, it's development was interrupted for brief periods during the Persian, Greek and Roman invasions, but the advent of Islam early in the seventh century A.D. ushered in a new era and Al-Fustat, the first Islamic capital of Egypt marked a definite turning point. The Islamic intellectual revival, particularly in the natural sciences and philosphy, was accompanied by new styles in architecture which still developed under the various dynasties that ruled Islamic Egypt- the Omayyads, the Tpulounids, the Fatimids, the Ayyoubids, the Mamelukes, and finally the Ottomans. 

This page is divided into three sections:
  • Mosques 
  • Islamic Buildings 
  • Islamic Monuments 


Mosque of Amr Ibn al-Aas: Founded by Amr Inb al-Aas in 642(21H), north of the site of thre Roman Fortress of Babylon, it is considered to be the earliest mosque in Egypt. Simple in design, its present plan consists of an open sahn ( court ) surrounded by four riwags, the largest being the Qiblah riwag with marble pillars. 

Al-Aqmar Mosque: Built in 519 H. (1125 AD) by the Al-AMer Bi-Ankham Allah, this mosque is in Al-Muezz Li-Din Allah Street. It is one of the rare Fatimid buildings that still retains its beauty and elegance. Its stone facade teams with Kutic decorations and inscriptions.

The Mosque and Madrassan of Sultan Hassan: Bulit in 1356 AD. It was started at the orders of Sultan Hassan Ibn Qalawon as a mosque and madrasah to teach the four schools. It is composed of an open court, surrounded by four iwans for the four schools.

Mosque of Al-Mu'ayid: This mosque was built in 1420 AD, adjoining Bab Zuweilla. Al-Mu'ayid, a Circassian prince, had been imprisoned in that place where he pledged to build a mosque should he gain his freedom. When he became Sultan, he built this mosque whose minaret rises above Bab Zuweilla.

The Citadel of Salah Al-Din: The Citadel was built in 1183 AD along the lines of a medievel fortress. It has a well, 90 meters deep, known as Bir Youssef, to provide the citadel with water in times of siege.

Other Mosques:

  • Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun 
  • Al- Azhar Mosque 
  • Mosque of Al-Hakem 
  • Al Seleh Tala'e Mosque 
  • Mosque of Aq-Sonqor 
  • Mosque of Imam Hussein 
  • Mosque and Dome of Imam Al-Shafei 
  • The Madrassah and Dome of Al-Mansour Qalawon 
  • & many more..................................... 

Islamic Buildings:

Islamic Arts Museum: Located in Midan Bab al-Khalq, it is regarded as the largest museum of Islamic arts in the Middle east. It houses 80,000 rare ancient relics from the dawn of Islam until the end of the Ottoman period. It comprises two new rooms housing textiles, rare gold and silver coins, as well as royal medals. The museum also has a library with valuable books on Islamic civilization, and a collection of rare manuscripts of the Quran, including the largest copy of the quran in Kuflic script on gazelle skin.

The Manial Palce Museum: In Al-Manial, overlooking the Nile, it was the private residence of Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfic. Its architecture is a mixture of Persian, Moroccan and Turkish styles. In a corner of its spacious garden is the Manial Palace Hotel.

Beit al- Kreitleya: Built in 1631 AD. It is named after its last owner, a lady from Crete. The Government turned it into a museum with the name of Gayer Anderson, its supervisor.

Other Islamic Buildings:

  • Bab al-Sar 
  • Bab al-Fattouh 
  • Beit al-Sehemi 
  • Wikalet al- Ghouri 
  • Khan Khalilii Bazar 
  • Beit Gamai al-Din al Zahabi 

Islamic Monuments:

The Agha Khan Mausoleum( shown to the left): Agha Khan was the late leader of the Ismalii sect. The tomb, a masterpiece of Arab Fatimid architecture, on the west bank of the Nile opposite the Catract Hotel, houses a coffin of white marble.

Mosque of Abul Abbas al-Mursi: It was named after Abul Abbas, a disiciple of the great Hussein al-Shazli. 

Mosque of Sayed al-Badawy: It is one of the most important Islamic landmarks in Egypt, outside Cairo, because of its large size, elegance and fine architecture.

The Fortress Of Salah al-Din on Pharaoh's Island: This fortress, built by Sultan al-Din al-Ayyoubi towards the end of the 12th century AD, lies about 60 kilometers north of the town of Nuweiba and 8 kilometers south of Taba, on Pharaohs Island to protect the Gulf of Aqaba against foreign invaders and to safeguard the pilgrims and trade route. There are also towers to house carrier pigeons, which were used for relaying messages in the Middle Ages.

The Tomb of Al Nabi Haroun: It lies in Al-Raha plain in Catherine Valley, near Jabal Sifsafa.

Other Islamic Monuments:

  • The Fort of Qait Bay 
  • Mosque of Ibarahim al-dessouky in desouk 
  • Mosque of Abdul Rahim al-Qena'i in Qena 
  • Mosque of Al-Fouly in Minya 
  • Mosque of Abul Hagag in Luxor 
  • The tomb of Al Nabi Al-Saleh 

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