Egypt Cairo Mosques


Egypt Cairo Mosques


Mosques in Cairo


The Al-Azhar Mosque, Arabic for “the most blooming”, is located in El Hussein Square and was built in 972 in a portico style just after the birth of Cairo itself. It was originally designed by the Fatimid general Jawhar El-Sequili also known as Gawhara Qunqubay, and Gawhar al-Sakkaly, and ordered by the Caliph Muezz Li-Din Allah.

Situated in the heart of an area redolent with the most beautiful Islamic monuments from the 10th century, it was named "Al-Azhar" in honor of Fatama al-Zahraa, daughter of the Prophet Mohamed. It copied both the Amr Ibn El-As and Ibn Tulun mosques.

The mosque became a teaching institution under Yaqoub Ibn Cals.


This is the world’s oldest university and the first lecture was taught in 975 AD.Today,


the university built around Azhar is the most famous and most prestigious of Muslim schools, and those who have studied here are highly esteemed for their traditional training.


While ten thousand students once studied here, today the university classes are done in surrounding buildings and the Azhar is exclusively for prayer.


In addition to the study of religion, they have also added modern schools of medicine, science and foreign languages.


The mosque’s architecture is a palimpsest of all styles and influences that have gone through Egypt, with a large portion of it having been reconstructed by Abdarrahman Khesheda. Five very fine minarets with small balconies and intricately carved columns adorn the mosque. It has six entrances, with the main entrance built in the 18th century, Bab el-Muzayini, Arabic for “barber’s gate”, where students were once ceremoniously shaved.




This gate leads into a small courtyard which then leads into the Aqbaughawiya Medersa to the left. Built in 1340, it serves as a library. On the right is the Taybarsiya Medersa, which was built in 1310 and contains a very fine mihrab or niche which points to the direction of Mecca.


Built in 1469 the Qaitbay Entrance has a minaret built atop. Surrounded with porticos, the inside is a large courtyard that is 275 by 112 feet supported by over three hundred marble columns of ancient origin. The eastern side contains the prayer hall which is bigger than the courtyard and has several rows of columns.

The mihrab’s Kufic inscription on the interior is original, though the mihrab has been changed several times. Behind the mihrab is a hall added in 1753 by Abd el-Rahman Katkhuda. At the northern end is the tomb medersa of Jawhar El-Sequili.


Finished in 1848, the Ali Mosque or Alabaster Mosque in the Ottoman-style is the most conspicuous in all of Cairo. For over 150 years it has dominated the skyline.



When the Ottoman Muhammad 'Ali took over Cairo in the 1800s, he had all the Mamluk buildings of the Citadel destroyed and the complex completely rebuilt.



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