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Al-Azhar Mosque

Who founded the Al-Azhar Mosque and how old is it?

Cairo has hundreds of ancient mosques to visit, but none match Al-Azhar Mosque in prestige and importance in Islamic history. Founded in 970 AD by the Fatimids as a mosque dedicated to both worship and learning, it has grown over the centuries to become one of the most important centers of Islamic theology and learning in the world. Founded more than 1,000 years ago, the Al-Azhar Mosque and the university of the same name attract students from all over the world to learn about the history of Islam and the different schools of thought that interpret the Quran. From the beginning, Al-Azhar University has been an institution of pluralism. Founded by the Ismaili Shiite Fatimid dynasty and later becoming a Sunni college under the Egyptian dynasty, despite the tensions between these different theologies, Sunni and Shia scholars are still skeptical of al-Azhar. have worked, taught and discussed in parallel for much of its history. Today, it is regarded as the mediating and regulating authority of Islamic theology with worldwide influence.

Construction of the Al-Azhar Mosque

The mosque itself has undergone many renovations and expansions, surviving more than 1,000 years of political and governmental change. The different architectural styles of its five minarets testify to the different dynasties that ruled al-Azhar. In addition to the beautiful white marble courtyard that dates back to the mosque’s original construction, the building houses a large covered worship hall and his two madrasas (religious schools).

Before Al-Azhar University expanded and moved to a second campus, mainly north of the city, students met faculty in the courtyard. Arabic and Koranic interpreting is still taught here today. From the courtyard you can also see the three tallest minarets, built in 1340, 1469 and 1510 respectively (from right to left as viewed from the courtyard). Sultan Al-Ghuri, who also built the Wikala Al-Ghuri and Al-Ghouriyya complexes nearby, is responsible for the 1510 minaret, recognizable by its twin towers.

Highlights of Islamic Cairo

Some of Islamic Cairo‘s biggest attractions can be found on Al-Muizz Al-Dean Street. Built in the 11th century, this street was the main thoroughfare of the city at the time, and the mausoleum and palace were also built here. The northern part of the street (between Bab el-Fotou and Al-Azhar streets) has recently been restored and opened to tourists. This is one of the most picturesque places in Cairo and why people love to spend time here. Located here, the Kalawun complex is one of the city’s most impressive sights.

Islamic Cairo is home to some of Cairo‘s greatest Islamic monuments. One of the finest examples of Islamic architecture is the Cairo Citadel. Construction of the Cairo Citadel began in the 12th century under the Ayyubid general Salah ad-Din al-His Ayyubi. Within the walls of the Citadel are his three famous mosques: the Al Nasir Mohammed Mosque, the Suleiman Pasha Mosque, and Muhammad Ali’s Alabaster Mosque. Al-Azhar Park is an Islamic Cairo novelty.

In the 1990s, the Egyptian government cleared land that had been used as a landfill for centuries and created parks in the city. Today Al-Azhar Park offers 74 hectares of parkland in a city with little green space. This beautiful setting offers stunning views of the city and manicured gardens. There is also a cafe and restaurant in the park, so you can enjoy it anytime.

You Can Visit Al Azhar Mosque during you Cairo tour with Al Sahel Travel

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