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Al Aqmar Mosque

al aqmar mosque

El-Moaz Al-Deen Street is home to some of Islamic Cairo’s most impressive landmarks. When the city was first established in the eleventh century, this street served as its primary thoroughfare and was where palaces and mausoleums were built. Between Bab El-Fotouh and Al-Azhar Street, the northern portion of the road has recently undergone restoration and is now open to visitors. People like to spend time in this area of Cairo because it is among the most picturesque. One of the city’s spectacular sites is the Qala’un Complex.

If you are looking for an amazing experience that you will ever have in Egypt, check out our Cairo Tours

Who built the Al Aqmar Mosque?

Al Aqmar Mosque Cairo
Entrance of Al Aqmar Mosque

Al-Ma’mun al-Bata’ihi, the Fatimid vizier who held this office from 1121 to 1125 under the Caliph al-Amir, was responsible for constructing the mosque. He served the Fatimid Caliphate shortly after the First Crusade’s unexpected invasion, during a time of immense political and spiritual difficulty.

Building of the Al-Aqmar Mosque:

Al Aqmar Mosque
Minaret Al Aqmar Mosque

Additionally distinctive, the facade is embellished with three fluted hoods around the portal and on either side and lovely inscriptions. Many elements of this mosque’s design have become typical of mosque construction in Cairo. The front of the mosque is renowned for its intricate stonework, while the interior of the building welcomes all visitors with a crisp wind.

Al Aqmar mosque was initially constructed higher than street level, above a shopping area and a souk, and is regarded as one of the first hanging mosques in the history of Old Cairo. The businesses continued to rise, but the mosque now appears to be at street level. The mosque was the first to be built with an entrance facing the existing street plan rather than the direction of prayer, or Qibla, which is Mecca. Some historians claim that because this style of design was unheard of during the Fatimid era, the mosque’s ceiling was redone during the restorations of Mamluk Amir Yallugha Al-Salami.

Facts about Al Aqmar Mosque

Al Aqmar Mosque
Islamic Motifs of Al Aqmar Mosque
  • Al Aqmar Mosque is one of the most impressive and historic structures in ancient Islamic Cairo, located on El Moaz Street. One of the first structures to be constructed in Islamic Cairo is this little but distinctive mosque on El Moaz Street. The Fatimids, who governed Egypt from 969 until 1171, built Al-Qahira, the walled city that now constitutes the center of Islamic Cairo. They originated in what is now Tunisia, invaded Egypt, and established Shi’a Islam as the official state religion.
  • The Moonlight Mosque, also known as Al-Aqmar Mosque, contains various distinctive architectural elements. The front could stay square to the street front while the rest of the structure sat at an angle, aligning with the qibla, the direction of prayer toward Mecca. It was the first mosque in Cairo to adopt this design.
  • Al Aqmar Mosque is one of the most impressive Fatimid mosques in Egypt and one of the earliest instances of a small mosque that is still intact in Islamic Cairo.
  • Its western façade, which is one of Egypt’s oldest stone facades in Islamic architecture and is adorned in this elaborate and opulent style, is perhaps the most obvious of its distinguishing features.
  • The design and ornamentation of the entrance to the main hall and courtyard of the al-Hakim Mosque in Cairo (erected in AH 403 / AD 1012) may have been influenced by the artistic elements on the façade of the projecting gateway of that structure.
  • Historical sources claim that brick and stone were utilized in the construction of Fatimid architecture.
  • The renowned traveler Nasir Khusraw wrote in 439 AH/1048 CE that the stone walls of the Fatimid palaces he saw in Egypt fit together so smoothly that the observer may believe the entire structure was excavated from a single piece of rock.
Al Aqmar Mosque
Al Aqmar Mosque
  • Various motifs, including shell forms, blind-arched recesses supported by spiral columns, vases, rosettes, and diamond shapes, are incorporated into the symmetrical design of the façade and entry.
  • Muqarnas (chamfered-edged niches), a novel architectural feature introduced into Egyptian Islamic architecture and a device that had previously only been seen on a gate in Cairo (built AH 480/AD 1087), among other places, are also present on the façade.
  • A minaret was constructed in front of the gateway in AH 799/AD 1396 by Prince Yalbugha al-Sulaimi, a personal assistant to Sultan al-Zahir Barquq. The minaret may be seen from the entryway on the left.
  • The mosque’s interior is 28 by 17.50 meters. An open square courtyard surrounded by four roofed structures with rows of columns is 10 meters long on one side. Four roofed areas flank the yard.
  • The three arcades that make up the qibla section, which is the deepest of them all and has only one colonnade in each of the other three sectors, are all fashioned entirely of brick.
  • The mosque is decorated with tiny shallow brick domes that cover the arcades, except for the column that comes before the mihrab.
  • Spherical-triangular pendentives are utilized in the transition zones of the domes, a design that was also used in Cairo’s Bab al-Nasr and Bab al-Futuh mosques, which were built in the Fatimid era around AH 480/AD 1087.
  • The style was later employed during the Mamluk era in Cairo’s Khanqah Faraj ibn Barquq (finished in AH 813/AD 1410). Spherical-triangular pendentives, where numerous miniature domes were used to cover the arcades, were common in Ottoman mosques, and the practice spread throughout Europe.


The most miniature mosque in Cairo is called Al-Aqmar, which stands out since it has the oldest stone facade. In 1125 AD, the mosque was constructed during the reign of Caliph al-Amir bi Ahkam Allah.

The Al-Aqmar Mosque stands out for its superb technical conception. It was designed as an irregular rectangle on the outside and a regular rectangle with inside borders that measured 28 meters in length and 17.5 meters in breadth because it was erected on the corner of two streets on a narrow corner.

Don’t miss to check out our article about Islamic Cairo

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