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Islamic Architecture in Egypt

Al-Azhar Mosque

AL-Azhar Mosque
Arabic version - English version

Construction Date
Construction Era
The Fatimid Period
Constructor Name
El Moez Le Din Allah and Gawhar El Sekelly, the army leader
Building Type
Mosque "Masjid-I-Jami"
Current  Statues
Historical Lieu
Monument Address
Northern Cairo, El Darbel Ahmar, El Azhar Street

Al-Azhar Mosque established in 972 (361 H) in a porticoed style shortly after the founding of Cairo itself, was originally designed by the Fatimid general Jawhar El-Sequili (Gawhara Qunqubay, Gawhar al-Sakkaly) and built on the orders of Caliph Muezz Li-Din Allah. Located in the center of an area teaming with the most beautiful Islamic monuments from the 10th century, it was called "Al-Azhar" after Fatama al-Zahraa, daughter of the Prophet Mohamed (Peace and Prayers Be Upon Him).

Prince Alae El Din Akbogha Ibn Abdel Wahed (Bahareya Mameluk) founded El Akbaghaweya College 740AH/1340AD. Prince Gawhar El Kanekbaei (Circassian Mameluk) erected El Gawhareya College 844AH/1440AD. Qayet Bey gates and the minaret were built in 782AH/1468AD during the Circassian Mameluk reign.

The mosque is a palimpsest of all styles and influences that have passed through Egypt, with a large part of it having been renovated by Abdarrahman Khesheda. There are five very fine minarets with small balconies and intricately carved columns. It has six entrances, with the main entrance being the 18th Century Bab el-Muzayini (barber's gate), where students were once shaved. This gate leads into a small courtyard and then into the Aqbaughawiya Medersa to the left, which was built in 1340 and serves as a library. On the right is the Taybarsiya Medersa built in 1310 which has a very fine mihrab. The Qaitbay Entrance was built in 1469 and has a minaret built atop. Inside is a large courtyard that is 275 by 112 feet which is surrounded with porticos supported by over three hundred marble columns of ancient origin. To the east is the prayer hall which is larger than the courtyard and has several rows of columns. The Kufic inscription on the interior of the mihrab is original, though the mihrab has been modified several times, and behind is a hall added in 1753 by Abd el-Rahman Katkhuda. At the northern end is the tomb medersa of Jawhar El-Sequili.

The mosque was restord by El-Hakem be'amr ELLah on [400H] [1009].

Al-Azhar plan

Al-Azhar mosque

Al-Azhar mosque interior details

Click on each picture to see more in larger size

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