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Islamic Cairo

Islamic Cairo

"... manifold combinations of light and shade, colour, costume and architectural detail. Every shopfront, every street corner... is a ready-made picture."Amelia B. Edwards describes the streets of Cairo, 1877


The Citadel of Salah al-Din

Built between 1176 and 1182 AD, the Citadel fortress provides a panoramic view of Cairo from the Moqattam Hills."... the living world spread out close beneath one's feet..." The Citadel complex includes the Alabaster Mosque.

The Mosque and Madrassa of Sultan Hassan

A masterpiece of Mamluke architecture it includes bronze doors inlaid with gold and silver, marble panelling, and a fountain that used to run with sherbet on special occasions.

The Qalawun, al-Nasir, Barquq complex

A medieval complex of mosques, mausoleums and madrassas built by three Mamluke sultans.

Al-Azhar Mosque

The first Fatimid mosque and the oldest Islamic University in the world, founded in 970 AD.

Bab Zuwayla

Part the city's fortifications, the gate dates from 1092 AD and was formerly a place of public execution, crowned by the heads of criminals on spikes. Minarets were added to the towers in the fifteenth century.

The Blue Mosque ( Mosque of Aqsunqur)

Famous for the indigo and turquoise tiles that decorate the interior.

The Mosque of Ibn Tulun

Built between 876 and 879 AD in the classical courtyard style this is Cairo's oldest, intact mosque, still in use today. Next door is the Gayer Anderson House, the Ottoman-style residence of an eccentric British major restored and furnished in period style and filled with his collection of Islamic art.

The Islamic Museum

Includes works of art from all over the Islamic world, ranging from large architectural pieces rescued from mosques to ceramics, manuscripts and tapestries. More details: Museum of Islamic Art (Cairo Islamic Museum), Bab Al-Khalq, Cairo

Mu’izzli-Din Allah Street

As a legacy from the Fatimid Islamic Dynasty, renovated Mu’izzli-Din Allah Street known as Al Mu’izz Street lies in the heart of Islamic Cairo displaying some of the best Islamic monuments of the city.

Aside from the architectural legacy of the Fatimid Dynasty, rulers introduced religious and non-religious celebrations such as Moulid El Nabi (The Prophet’s Birthday) and Sham El Nessim.
Mu’izzli-Din Allah Street known - a Islamic Dynasty, Cairo
The once crowded street with vehicles is now pedestrian with at least 25 mosques; madrassas (schools), public fountains and renovated monuments lighten up at night. You will also find a good variety of shops including gold, silver and copper stores and antique boutiques. Al M’uizz Street was the main route of the Fatimid’s walled city created after the dynasty conquered the old city of Fustat. The northern end of the street known as “ Bayn Al Qasrayn” “Between the two Palaces” is the setting for the first volume of famous writer Naguib Mahfouz’s moving Cairo Trilogy Palace Walk.

From Bab El Zuweila to the south, across Al Azhar Street to Bab El Futuh to the north, the two-kilometer street displays architectural tributes to six major eras: Fatimid (969-1171), Ayyubid (1171-1250), Bahareya Mamluk (1250-1390), Burgi Mamluk (1390- 1517), Ottoman (1517-1798) up to 1805 when Mohamed Ali Pasha came to Egypt.

The buildings lining the street are some of the most important displaying unique Islamic architecture and innovations. You will also find buildings for Sufi meditation (Khanqawat), guesthouses (Tekkeyat) and public drinking fountains (Sabil plural Asbbella). The creation of public bathhouse (Hammam) was an important innovation of the period, the most popular ones on the street are the hammam of Mamluk Sultan Inal Al-Malatily and the hammam of Amir Bashtak between Bab Zuweila and the Rifaie Mosque.

Other interesting monuments include the seventeethcentury merchant’s house functioning as a cultural center Bayt Al Suhaymi, the complex of Qalawun, Barquq, and Al Nasir north of Khan El Khalili on the left El Mu’izz Street. At the north end of the street is the second largest mosque in Cairo of the Caliph al Hakim. You will find around Bab El Futuh the Suqq Al Futuh (Bazaar) where many things can be found in a more authentic and lower-priced setting than in the famous Khan El Khalili bazaar.
Mu’izzli-Din Allah Street known as Al Mu’izz Street

Last Updated on Monday 10th January 2011