Historical Islamic Mosques in Egypt
One of Cairo's many epitaphs is the "City of 1,000 Minarets". Actually, there are more than that, and so it should be no surprise that there are many historical mosques in Egypt, mostly in Cairo.
Many western visitors to Egypt may initially have very little interest in seeing these medieval buildings, but on first sight, those with any interest in architecture will be awestruck by their beauty and design. Because Egypt has seen many influences from any number of different ruling empires, including Abbasid, Fatimid, Ayyubid Mamluk and Ottoman and others, and because Cairo specifically is a city of the world, Egypt offers a fair overview of mosque styles. Furthermore, its mosques date from the earliest periods of Islam up to and of course, including modern varieties. Egypt has some very notable, as well as important mosques, some of which may be visited while others are not open to touristic visits. While most of the tourist mosques are to be found in Islamic Cairo, the oldest of them all, the Amr Ibn El-Aas Mosque, is located in Coptic (Christian, or Old Cairo) and may be visited, while the Al-Azhar Mosque, the location of the World's oldest University and one of the most influential mosques in Islam, is not a tourist facility.
Some mosques in Egypt, and particularly Cairo, are actually complexes that include a number of other structures that may, or may not be found attached to other mosques. For example, many mosques include an Islamic school facility, called a madrasa. Others may have mausoleums and tombs, and even hospitals (maristan), along with other structures within the complex. Mosques may be located in strange places.
There is a mosque (Abu Al-Haggag Mosque), which creates a rather strange appearance inside the Temple of Luxor in Upper Egypt, and in the Sinai, a Fatimid mosque is incorporated into the famous St. Catherine's monastery. While it is difficult to miss the many mosques in Egypt, as they are everywhere, those visiting the country should take at least a moment out of their busy itineraries to appreciate these grand monuments to Islam.