Egypt: Historical Islamic Egyptian Sites

Historical Islamic Egyptian Sites

For additional comprehensive information see Monuments in Egypt

The Abu Abbas El Mursi Mosque by Seif Kamel & Zahraa Adel Awed

This mosque is one of Alexandria's most important Islamic monuments, and really a very beautiful one that is well worth a visit.

Altunbugha al-Maridani Mosque by Lara Iskander

This Mosque, one of the finest monuments of the 14th century, was built by Amir (Prince)"Altunbugha al-Maridani" in 1340. Al-Maridani mosque if located in "Bab-Al-Wazir" street - a major road in the 14th century running from "Bab Zuweila" to the Citadel- in "Darb al-Ahmar" district where many Mamluk complexes crowd one next to another emphasizing the great architectural style of their distinguished buildings. Amir Al-Maridani, who was one of Sultan Al-Nasir Mohammeds sons-in-law, built his mosque following the traditional hypostyle plan.

The Al-Aqmar Mosque by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

In the heart of the Old Fatimid city of Cairo stands a small but important mosque known as al-Aqmar, which means "The Moonlit"

The Amir Taz Palace by Lara Iskander Amir

Taz Palace, know as Dar Taz meaning the home of Taz, is one of the best known Mamluk Palaces remaining in historic Cairo.

The Aqsunqur Mosque (The Blue Mosque) by Lara Iskander

During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the heart of Islamic Cairo shifted south to an area called Darb alAhmar (the red road), to the south and east of Bab Zuweila (Zuweila Gate). Many great Mamluk Monuments are found in the zone especially in Bab al-Wazir Street (Gate of the Minister) which is the main street leading to the northern side of the Citadel. Two of the earliest buildings on the Darb al-Ahmar road are the Mosques of al-Maridani and the so-called Blue Mosque.

The Attarine Mosque in Alexandria by Seif Kamel

The Attarine Mosque, which began its life as an ancient Alexandrian church, has an interesting history, not to mention being very colorfully decorated.

The Mosque of Aytmush (Aytmishi) al-Bagassi in Cairo by Lara Iskander

The early Mamluk period is architecturally the most rich of the archaic Islamic periods of Cairo, for many major buildings were erected under their reign. This is due to the fact that the Mamluks started erecting different styles of religious and educational complexes influenced mostly by Spain, Iran and North Africa. After the strict Ayyubid regulations, which made it possible to have only one main congregational mosque at any one time, during the fourteenth century, the Mamluks allowed several complexes to be built demonstrating a diverse range of styles and designs.

The Ayyubid City Fortification by Lara Iskander

It seems that over the last few years, more and more of the ancient fortification walls of Cairo have been unearthed.

The History of the Bahariya Oasis by Jimmy Dunn

Over time, the Bahariya Oasis has had a number of different names. It has been called the Northern Oasis, the Little Oasis, Zeszes, Oassis Parva and the especially during the Christian era, the Oasis of al-Bahnasa, along with various other names. At one time, the Bahariya Oasis, as well as most of the rest of what is today referred to as the Western (or Libyan) Desert, was the floor of an immense ocean. Yet from about 3000 BC until the present, almost no rainfall graces this part of the world, so groundwater is its life blood.

Cairo's Ancient Northern Walls by Seif Kamel

Cairo's Northern Walls are masterpieces of Islamic military architecture and one of the monumental structures in Cairo

The Citadel in Cairo by Jimmy Dunn

The Citadel complex in Cairo is an outstanding example of Islamic military architecture and is one of Cairo's major tourist attractions.

The Complex of Sultan al-Ashraf Barsbay (Barsbey) In the Northern Cemetery by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The Madrasa and Khanqah of Barsbay, which also contains three mausoleums, was built in Cairo's Northern Cemetery a few years after he built his complex south of the Qalawun complex on al-Mu'izz street at the corner of Sharia Muski (street). Constructed in 1432, it was made to accommodate only about seventeen Sufis, of whom four were students and only ten were housed on the premises. It's madrasa provided training to Sufi students studying the Hanafi rite. This complex, which takes up both sides of the street south of the khanqah of Faraj, once covered a large area but many of its subsidiary structures have now been lost.

Mosque/Marasa, Sabil-Kuttab and Mausoleum Complex of Ashraf Barsbay by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

On the corner of Nahasiyeen (Nahhasin) and Muski streets stands the complex of Ashraf Barsbay. The complex dominates the nearby spice bazaar where heaped mounds of herbs, roots and spices still beckon shoppers. Local inhabitants of the spice bazaar more commonly refer to the monument as "al-Ashrafiya. A Mameluke 'slave king' of Caucasian descent, Barsbay ruled Egypt for 16 years, bringing stability to a state where a leader rarely lasted five years before being overthrown. By turning the trade in certain spices into a state monopoly, Sultan Barsbay was able to use the profits to finance much of his building work as well as foreign military campaigns.

The Mosque of al-Burdayni by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

Cairo is often called the city of 1,000 minarets, but there may actually be more than that number and even more small mosques that actually have no need for, and thus were built without minarets. All over Cario, there are many small mosques and even today, any number of fairly wealthy members of the Cairo Muslim populous fund private or small mosques. This is a tradition that has carried through from antiquity. The Mosque of al-Burdayni is a small gem of a structure traditionally dated to between 1616 and 1629. However, it was completed in 1694 by a wealthy merchant. It was begun by a religious scholar named Karim al-Din al-Burdayni who lived in the Ottoman period, but who was actually not a Turk, nor even a member of the ruling class,

The History of the Dakhla Oasis by Jimmy Dunn

If Kharga is the administrative center of Egypt's New Valley, than the Dakhla Oasis would be its breadbasket. It is a very lush region brimming with orchards and produce, and this is nothing new, for 10,000 years ago, when the climate here was similar to that of the African Savanna, it was teaming with buffaloes, elephants, rhinos, zebras, ostriches and hartebeests. There was a vast lake here, and on its southern shores were also human communities. However, as with most of the rest of the Western Desert, this wet era passed, and with it many of the people mostly migrated south and to the east, where they helped populate the early Nile Valley, as the sands slowly covered their ancient way of life.

The History of the Farafra Oasis by Jimmy Dunn

Of those with an interest in Egypt, and particularly the Western Oasis, the Farafra is probably one of the least known Oasis. It is actually one of the most difficult Oasis to reach and offered the pharaohs, caliphs and kings very little, though it seem to be on the way to everywhere. In ancient times, we believe that the Farafra experienced three specific wet phases, in about 9000 BC, 6000 BC and 4500 BC.

Fort Qaitbey in Alexandria by Seif Kamel & Zahraa Adel Awed

Fort Qaitbey in Alexandria is one of the city's major monuments, an icon of the city itself, and a great place to bring the kids for a wonderful adventure.

Hosh al-Basha by Lara Iskander

Hosh al-Basha is an important monument though it is rarely visited , probably due to it's location and the difficulty in accessing it.

Al Kamil and his Madrasa in Cairo by Jimmy Dunn

Al Kamil, the Nephew of Saladin, was an interesting character during the archaic Arabic Period of Egyptian history and the remaining fragment of his Madrasa is one of only a handful of monuments from that period that survive in Cairo.

The Khanqah and Mausoleum of Sultan Faraj Ibn Barquq by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

A Khanqah was a sort of monastery or lodge for the Sufis, who espoused in the mystic, esoteric approach to the Muslim religion and for which seclusion and asceticism played an important role. The Khanqah and Mausoleum of Sultan Faraj Ibn Barquq (1382-1399 AD) was built by, Sultan al-Nasir Faraj, in order to fulfill his father's desire to be buried near the tombs of the Sufis in Cairo's Northern cemetery.

Madrasa Khanqah of Sultan al-Zahir Barquq by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

Next to the madrasa of Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad stands the Madrasa Khanqah of Sultan al-Zahir Barquq at Nahhasin on the street called al-Mu'izz in Islamic Cairo, which can be dated to between 1384 and 1386 AD. The architect Shihab al Din Ahmad ibn Muhammad al Tuluni, who belonged to a family of court architects and surveyors, was in charge of part of the construction. The name of Jarkas al Khalili, the master of Barquq's horse and the founder of the famous Khan al Khalili, appears in the inauguration inscription on the facade and in the courtyard. Its founder was Sultan Barquq, who was of Circassian origin, recruited under the Turkish Bahri Mamluks. The Circassians were subjects of the Tatar Golden Horde and were first imported to Egypt as slave troops by Qalawun in the thirteenth century.

The Gates of Ancient Cairo, Egypt by the Egyptian Governemt

A few of the beautiful ancient gates in Cairo, Egypt receive considerable attention, but there are many more that deserve some attention.

The Mosque of Al-Gawhar al-Lala by Lara Iskander

Though small, the Mosque of Al-Gawhar al-Lala overlooking Citadel Square in Cairo, is an interesting one, commemorating the life of a teacher who seems to have been much beloved by his students, if not by the powers that be of the period.

Geziret Faraum by Jimmy Dunn

There are a number of forts in Egypt. The most famous of these is the Citadel in Cairo, but also notable is Fort Qaitbey in Alexandria, built on the location of the legendary Pharos Lighthouse. Probably the least known of the major forts is located on Pharaoh's Island in the Gulf of Aqba. This fortress would undoubtedly draw much larger crowds of tourists were it located in a more mainstream tourist destination, but tourists who make an effort to visit the fort will usually have the island mostly to themselves. Pharaoh's Island, sometimes called Coral Island, or Geziret Faraum, is the location of a Crusader fortress originally built by Baldwin I, the King of Jerusalem. From the top of the fortress, one can see four countries, including Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Al-Ghuri Complex by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

Take a look at one of Cairo's grand, antique Muslim complexes, that of al-Ghuri, built as his tomb, though he wasn't buried here.

The Mashhad of al-Guyushi (al-Juyushi): Known as the Mosque of al-Guyushi by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

One of the oldest Muslim monuments in Egypt sits high up on the plateau of the Muqattam hills overlooking the cemetery of Cairo, as well as Cairo itself. This is the sanctuary of Badr al-Jamali (Badr al-Gamali, al-Jammali), an Armenian who was prior to his time in Egypt, the governor of Acre. Al-Jamali became not only vizier to the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir (1036-1094), who had requested his help in restoring order to Egypt, but also held the honored title, "The Great Master, Prince of Armies".

The Mosque of El-Hakim by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, literally, "Ruler by God's Command", was known to many by his eccentric dictatorial and eccentric decrees; at one point he declared himself a divine entity, unique among ruler peers over Cairo's medieval ages. Al-Hakim subsequently went off on a mysterious one way ride to al-Muqattam hills and never returned. The mosque which he completed, the El-Hakim is the second largest Fatimid mosque in Cairo.

El-Harrawi House by Lara Iskander

El-Harrawis main entrance is through Zuqaq al-Qasr ally but its no longer used. In spite of its importance, the house has a relatively small street faade. The southern faade is especially remarkable because of its height and a quite impressive large wooden Masshrabeyya indicating the presence of a Qaa (i.e. Large Hall) on the first floor. The secondary entrance used nowadays was a later addition that dates back to the 19th century, it is located right next to Sitt Wasila House.

The Mosque of Sultan Hassan by Seif Kamel

The mosque and Madrasa of of Sultan Hassan is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Islamic architecture in Cairo, and the world.

Historical Islamic Mosques in Egypt by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

Cairo is known as the City of 1,000 Minarets because of its many mosques. Many of these mosques are open to visitors, and in fact, Cairo has an ongoing program for the restoration of ancient mosques, a few of which ranks as some of the oldest to be found in the world. Certainly some are the grandest to be found anywhere. Many visitors to Egypt, who arrive with even a meager interest in this architecture and a slightly open mind, and particularly those with a creativity streak, will be awestruck by their beauty and design. Yet, and unfortunately, many western visitors may completely bypass these wonders of a very different civilization.

The Religious and Funerary Complex of Sultan al-Ashraf Inal In Cairo's Northern Cemetery by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The Funerary and Religious Complex of Sultan al-Ashraf Inal is situated to the north of the Khanqah of Sultan Faraj Ibn Barquq in Cairo's Northern Cemetery. It sits on the west side of the road that crosses the cemetery. The eastern facade of this structure is that of a mosque with a groin-vaulted portal. To the portal's left is the single minaret that is not attached, but rather connected to the mains structure by a wall. To the right, also attached to the main structure by only a wall, is the mausoleum. The rectangular base of the dome sits lower than the roof of the mosque. Normally in Mamluk architecture, the base of the minaret and the dome of a mausoleum rise above the roof level, with the exception of the minarets of al-Nasir Muhammad at the Citadel.

Mosque of Amir Jamal al-Din al-Ustadar by Lara Isklander

This 15th Century Mamluk Mosque is located in Al-Jamaleyia quarter, a heavily populated area of Cairo. Al-Jamaleyia street along with Al-Muizz street, parallel to it, are two of the most known and visited places nowadays in Cairo. They contain the highest density and the most varied monuments, which form the heart of Islamic Cairo. Al-Ustadar Mosque lies next to Wikalat Bazara and opposite to the remains of Al-Musaferkhana Palace.

The Mosque/Madrasa and Mausoleum of Khayrbak by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The governor of Aleppo during the reign of Sultan al-Ghuri, Amir Khayrbak became the Ottomans' first governor of Egypt after their conquest in 1517 as a reward for betraying the sultan and cooperating with the Ottoman conquerors. He had defected to the Ottoman side during the battle of Marj Dabiq near Aleppo in 1516 and a year later was appointed to his Egyptian position by the Ottoman Sultan, Selim. He built his mosque/madrasa and a sabil-kuttab between 1520 and 1521 AD. The mosque is situated at Tabbana between the Citadel and Bab Zuwayla and is best viewed form the direction of the Citadel. Though this monument may straddle the Mamluk and Ottomasn periods, architecturally it is in the Mamluk tradition and does not incorporate new or foreign architectural elements.

The Mawlawi Museum and Sunqur Sa'di Madrasa by Lara Iskander

The Mawlawi Museum in Cairo, along with the monumental presence of the Sunqur Sadi Madrasa and the other archeological remains exhibited in the restored area of Shari Al-Siyufiyah are part of a great Complex which also includes the Sadaqa Mausoleum and the Yeshbak Palace. The Mawlawi Complex has a great historical significance not only because it witnessed the end of the Mawlawi Sect, but also for its unique presence in Egypt as the only SamaKhana (hall) where the Mawlawi Dervishes preformed their rituals.

Manzil Zeinab Khatoun by Lara Iskander

Manzil Zeinab Khatoun is one of the most remarkable ancient Islamic houses left nowadays in Cairo. Named after its last owner, as was the custom for Islamic houses in those days, it occupies a distinguished location at the back of Al-Azhar Mosque in "Atfet El-Azhary" (Azhary alley) in Darb Al-Ahmar district, once the finest and richest neighborhood of Islamic Cairo. Also found opposite the house is a well-known monument, Al-Ayni Mosque and at nearby distance, two other important houses, Bait El-Harrawi and Bait Sitt Wasila

al-Mu'ayyad Complex by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The historic Sultan al-Mu'ayyad complex is one of the more notable Mamluk buildings in Cairo, in a very notable location.

Sabil-Kuttab of Nafisa al-Bayda by The Lara Iskander

This Ottoman building built by Nafisa al-Bayda dates back to the year of 1796 AD. It is located in an extremely busy area next to Bab Zuweila in al-Sukariyya, the Sugar Street, particularly famous for being mentioned in one of Naguib Mahfouzs (Egyptian novelist) trilogy novel. Nafisa al-Bayda began her life as a slave and then was married in the mid 1700s to a man of power in the state named Ali Bey. Afterwards, she married the wealthy Murad Bey who was at first a Mamluk, but then later rose to power in 1784 and became the leader of the resistance against the Napoleon Bonaparte invasion.

The al-Nasir Muhammad Mosque by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The al-Nasir Muhammad Mosque at the Citadel was, after its completion in the 14th century AD, one of Cairo's most important centers.

Bab al-Nasr by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

Bab al-Nasr is one of Cairo's most famous ancient gates, but different than Bab Zuwayla and Bab al-Futuh, with its rectangular towers.

The Nile by Marie Parsons

The Nile is the longest river in the world, stretching north for approximately 4,000 miles from East Africa to the Mediterranean. The mere mention of the name of the Nile evokes for modern man images of Pyramids, great temples, fantastic tales of mummies, and wondrous treasures. But the Nile represents life itself to the people of Egypt, ancient and modern.

The Nilometer on Rawda (Roda) Island in Cairo by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The Nilometer in Modern Cairo on the southern tip of Rawda (Roda) Island facing al-Fustat to the east is a rather unique historical site often overlooked by visitors to Cairo. It has the properties of being one of the oldest structures in Cairo built after the Arab conquest, as well as having a link to Egypt's pharaonic past. This Nilometers, in Arabic known as a miqyas (Mikyas al-Nil), was used to measure the flood levels of the Nile River and is a heritage of Egypt's distant past, when such structures doted the course of Egypt's grand river.

The Mosque of Qajmas al-Ishaqi by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

When visiting Egypt, time simply seems to be less relevant to us. We view monuments made by man that date back as far as 5,000 years ago, so what would be our interests in a monument built only 500 years ago? Anywhere else on earth, we might indeed be interested in a medieval structure, but Egypt's great antiquity makes us almost numb to such buildings. In addition, many westerners in particular decide they have no interest in Islamic architecture, which dominates the late antiquity sites of modern Egypt. However, their beauty and workmanship are appealing, while their designs seem considerably exotic to us, so that like a great book, one need only read a page are two in order to become hooked.

The Al-Ishaqi Mosque by Lara Iskander

This exceptional structure lies in the Darb al-Ahmar district next to Suq Al-Silah Street, which means the weapon Market Street thought this is not the case. The Darb al-Ahmar street is also sometimes called Darb al-Tabbana and is extremely rich with various Islamic monuments such as the old Fatimid gate, Bab Zuweila and opposite it is the Mosque of Sultan al-Muayyad Shaykh both of which are very impressing buildings. Al-Ishaqi Mosque dates back to the Circassian Mamluk period. It was built between 1479 and 1481 during the reign of Sultan Qaytbay by Prince Sayf al-Din Qijmas who occupied several important posts at the time.

Madrasa of Qanibay Amir Akhur by Lara Iskander

The Mamluk era contributed many and varied creative features to the already diverse and expressive Islamic Architecture. The Mamluk early buildings followed the traditional plans and designs. Nevertheless, innovation being a characteristic aspect of this period, the Islamic architectural reached its most significant achievements during the Mamluk time. Building designs started to group various purposes in one large impressive complex; religious, educational, social and funerary... This complex belongs to Qanibay al-Sayfi who was Amir Akhur Kabir, or grand master of the horses (in charge of the Sultans stables), during the reign of Sultan al-Ghuri. He was also known as al-Rammah the lancer because he famous for his horse-manship and using spears.

The Mahmud Pasha Mosque by Seif Kamel

The Mosque of Mahmud Pasha is small and simple, yet, great lighting and ceilings make it a worthwhile tourist visit. The Sanjar Salar Complex by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza The Khangah/Madrasa of Amir Sanjar al Gawly in Cairo is a small, relatively unknown Mamluk monument with some interesting innovations.

The Muhammad Ali Mosque by Seif Kamel

The Muhammad Ali Mosque, built by the founder of modern Egypt, though not particularly ancient, is visited by more tourists than any other Islamic monuments in Egypt.

Muhammad Ali's Shubra Palace by Lara Iskander

Muhammad Ali build himself a retreat palace or an official residence away from the Citadel in the district called Shubra al-kheyma

The Sabil-Kuttab of Sultan Qaytbay (Qaitbay) by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The freestanding and elegant sabil-kuttab of Sultan Qaytbay is situated on Sabila street between the complex of Shaykhu and the right-hand side of the square below the Citadel, and, while perhaps not the most major of all Islamic monuments in Cairo, is well worth a visit for travelers who may find themselves in Islamic Cairo a anyway. This is the first example of a freestanding version of this type of institution, which prior to this, had usually been incorporated into a corner of a mosque or madrasa (Islamic school).

The Funerary Complex of Sultan al-Ashraf Qaytbay (Qaitbay) In the Northern Cemetery by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

Qaytbay's monument remains a fine example of architecture during a period when decorative arts had reached their zenith. It was once a vast desert complex that included a commercial center on the main north-south trade route with Syria and the east-west trade route with the Red Sea. This complex, built between 1472 and 1474 AD and now featured on the Egyptian One Pound Note, is well worth a visit.

The Funerary Complex of Amir Qurqumas by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The funerary complex of Amir Qurqumas, dating to 1506-07, adjoins that of Inal to the north. Qurqumas was a Mamluk of Sultan Qaytbay who became grand amir under Sutlan al-Ghuri. He was the commander-in-chief of the armies, or 'amir kabir" at the time of his death in 1510, and was said to posses strong anti-Ottoman sympathies. Hence, he died before the Ottomans overthrew the Mamluk regime of Egypt between 1516 and 1517. However, the Ottomons, apparently took revenge on him anyway, stripping the marble facing from the walls of his madrasa (although according to another theory, it was actually al-Ghouri who did this to incorporate the pieces into his own monument).

The Madrasa and Mausoleum of al-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub (Al Salihiyya) by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The Madrasa of al-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub was the first to be built to house all four Sunni legal schools, each in a separate iwan. Other schools of this period were dedicated to either the Maliki or Shafi'i rites of Islamic law, but this once also included the Hanafi and Hanbali rites as well. In doing so, it followed the example of the Madrasa Mustansiriyya in Baghdad (1233). This tradition would provide an evolutionary path to the cruciform plan under the later Mamluks. The madrasa came to be more than just a center of worship and scholarship. here, the four chief religious justices, or qadis, heard cases referred to them from lower courts

"Manzil" Gamal Al-Din Al-Dahabi (Demure of Gamal Al-Din Al-Dahabi) by Lara Iskander

This House "Manzil" was built by "Khawaga" Gamal Al-Din Al-Dahabi in 1637 A.D. / 1047 A.H. in Cairo. The title "Khawaga" was given to chief merchants and important figures of the society. Gamal Al-Din was the chief of the elite gold merchants during the 17th century as is inscribed inside the house on the frame of the loggia ceiling. In the same year, he constructed a "Wikala" (caravansary). It is located in the same area as the house though the remains are not impressive.

The Refa'i Mosque by Seif Kamel

The Refa'i Mosque, situated next to the Sultan Hassan Mosuqe near the Citadel, is the final resting place of Egypt's last royal family.

The Mosque of Salih Tala'i by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The mosque of al-Salih Tala'i', built by the Fatimid vizier al-Salih Tala'i' ibn Ruzzik in 1160 during the caliphate of al-Fa'iz, is the second oldest existing Fatimid mosque to be built by a vizier, the first being that of al-Aqmar, and represents the last Fatimid mosque in Cairo. It is also the second of the "suspended" or hanging mosques (after that of al-Aqmar). It sits just across from and facing Bab (Gate) Zuwayla north of the Citadel. Just behind this mosque is the tent maker's market.

The Sarghatmish Madrasa by Seif Kamel

The Sarghatmish Madrasa, which also functions as a mosque and mausoleum for its owner, is a rather unusual structure for Cairo.

The Mausoleum of Imam al-Shafi'i by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The Imam al-Shafi'i was the founder of one of the four rites of Sunni Islam, and is considered to be one of the great Muslim saints. He died in 820 AD and was interred on his side facing Mecca in the Lesser Qarafa of the Southern Cemetery. The mausoleum, with a wooden dome, was erected in 1211 by al-Malik al-Kami. It is the first officially sponsored mausoleum to be built for a Sunni theologian after the eviction of the Fatimids from Egypt in 1171.

Mosque and Madrasa of Shaykhu by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The mosque and madrasa of Shaykhu dates to about 1349 AD, and according to al-Maqrizi, the historian, was one of the mosque outstanding and beautiful in Egypt. It is located on the northern side of Saliba Street ("Cross Street"), which runs from below the Citadel to the mosques of Ibn Tulun and Sayyida Zaynab. The minaret, which stands above the portal's vestibule, employs prismatic triangles for the transition from the square base to the octagonal shaft. The entrance to the mosque leads first into a vestibule where three of the walls have embedded pieces of polished black glass.

The History of the Siwa Oasis by Jimmy Dunn

Siwa, like the other Western Oasis, has had a number of different names over the millenniums. It was called Santariya by the ancient Arabs, as well as the Oasis of Jupiter-Amun, Marmaricus Hammon, the Field of Palm Trees and Santar by the ancient Egyptians.. We believe it was occupied as early as Paleolithic and Neolithic times, and some believe it was the capital of an ancient kingdom that may have included Qara, Arashieh and Bahrein. During Egypt's Old Kingdom, it was a part of Tehenu, the Olive Land that may have extended as for east as Mareotis.

The Sulayman Pasha Mosque by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The Sulayman Pasha Mosque, located at the Citadel in Cairo, was the first Ottoman Mosque built in Egypt, and has a wonderful dome.

The Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The Ibn Tulun Mosque was completed in 879 AD on Mount Yashkur in a settlement named al-Qata'i by the founder of Egypt's Tulunid Dynasty (868-905 AD), Ahmad ibn Tulun. Al-Qata'i was about two kilometers from the old community of Fustat. He was born in Baghdad, the son of a Turkish slave of Mongol origin owned by the Caliph, al-Ma'mun. He would later rise to became governor of Egypt after his stepfather, who died in 870, was awarded that position. The mosque that he had built over a period of three years of mudbrick became the focal point of the Tulunid capital that lasted only 26 years. It was the third congregational mosque to be built in what is now greater Cairo, and at approximately 26,318 square meters in size, is the third largest mosque in the world.

The Mosque, madrasa and tomb of Taghri Bardi by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

During the reign of Sultan Barsbay, a Circassian Mamluk, the Amir Taghri Bardi (Taghribardi al-Rumi) was a prominent fellow who led the army that invaded the Crusader kingdom of Cyprus. He is said to have been a somber character of violent language who was murdered by his own Mumluks (slaves) shortly after his elevation as grand dawadar, or executive secretary to Sultan al-Zahir Gaqmaq (Jaqmaq). He built a madrasa, mosque and sufi convent on the left side of Shari Saliba in about 1440 AD.

Umm Abbas, Sabil of by Lara Iskander

Sabils were public drinking fountains build during Cairo's historic Islamic Period, and that of Umm Abbas is one of the most lovely.

The Madrasa of Umm al-Sultan Sha'ban by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

The Bahri Mamluk Sultan Sha'ban ruled Egypt between 1376 and 1381 AD, and was a grandson al-Nasir Muhammad by his son, Husayn, His mother was Khawand (Lady) Baraka, a very wealthy and religious woman. His mother is better known to Mamluk history then his father, or perhaps Sultan Sha'ban himself. After the death of Husayn in 1362, Lady Baraka married Ilgay al-Yusufi, whose monument is in the Suq al-Silah. The Madrasa of Umm al-Sultan Sha'ban (Shaban) that Sultan Sha'ban built at Tabbana between Bab Zuwayla and the Citadel was dedicated to her (or at least, its foundation).

Shajarat (Shaggar, Shagar, Shagarat) al-Durr And her Mausoleum in Cairo by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

One of the most interesting women of Egypt's archaic Islamic period was Sultana Shajarat al-Durr, who ruled Egypt for a short period at the end of the Ayyubid period. Shajarat (sometimes Shagarat, Shaggar or Shagar) al-Durr was the wife of Sultan Al-Salih Najm Al-Din Ayyub. Largely, he was responsible for importing a whole corps of slaves to Egypt, who would become known as the Mamelukes, which meant those who are owned. These slaves would eventually rise to rule Egypt, and one of the Turcoman slaves that he purchased from the Caliph Musta'sim's harem was none other than Shajarat al-Durr, who would also become his wife.

Mosque of al-Silhdar in Cairo by Lara Iskander

The mosque of Amir Baha' al-Din Aslam al-Silhdar was built by the amir in 1344-5, a Mamluk who rose to the rank of Sword Bearer.

The Sennari House by Seif Kamel

Where did Egyptology begin? Right here, in this old house that was once a center for Napoleon's scholars, but it has other charms.

Bayt el-Suhaymi by Seif Kamel

Bayt el-Sahuymi is one of the finest Ottoman era houses of the elite in Cairo, and is very easty to visit next to the Khan el-Khalili

The Terbana Mosque in Alexandria by Seif Kamel

The Terbana Mosque in Alexandria is an early Ottoman Period structure that is very different than that of most Cairo Mosques, with many unique features.

Wakalat Al-Ghouri Reviving a Heritage by The Egyptian Government

Wakalat Al-Ghouri (909-910 A.H./1504-1505 A.D.) is located in Al-Tablita Street next to the founder's complex that contains a dome, a sitting logicca, a sabil, a kuttab, a mosque and a house in Al-Azhar quarter. This wakala (craftsmen and market place) was founded by Sultan Al-Ashraf Abu Al-Nasr Qunswa Al-Garkassi (Al-Ghouri) three years after his assuming power. The plan of the Wakala adopted the principle of introvert interior, where the building consists of a central open courtyard around which the stores of the ground and first floors are assembled with an entrance in the middle of the main facade. It includes annexes for services, utilities, stables for merchants' animals and an upper residence quarter.

The Mosque of Ilgay al-Yusufi by Lara Iskander

The Mosque of Amir Iljay al-Yusufi is a famous late Bahri Mamluk building which was built for the amir of the sword in 1373.

Bab Zuwayla by Jimmy Dunn writing as Ismail Abaza

Bab Zuwayla is one of Cairo's most famous ancient gates, as well as its most unusual, with minarets surmounting it towers.

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