Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun

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The Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Tulun (مسجد أحمد بن طولون), or the Masjid Ibn Ṭūlūn, located in Cairo, Egypt, is one of the oldest mosques in the world.


The Mosque of Ibn Tulun is not only one of the oldest mosques in Egypt as well as the whole of Africa surviving in its full original form, and is the largest mosque in Cairo in terms of land area. It is built around an open square courtyard which allows natural light to travel through. Ibn Tulun Mosque features ancient architecture styles of Egypt, its decorations being created from carved stucco and wood. This mosque is a popular tourist attraction.

The mosque was commissioned by the Tulunid dynasty ruler Ahmad ibn Tulun, the Abbasid governor of Egypt from 868–884 CE whose rule was characterized by de facto independence. It was designed by the prominent Egyptian architect, Saiid ibn Kateb al-Farghany (سعيد بن كاتب الفرغاني), who was an Orthodox Christian, the same engineer who designed the Nilometer. The historian al-Maqrizi lists the mosque's construction start date as 876 CE, and the mosque's original inscription slab identifies the date of completion as 265 Hijri (circa 878/879 CE).


circa 884 CE

The interior arched windows provides natural light against the hollow dome. Each pointed arch has a window and is designed with plain geometric design.

The minaret shows influences from both the Lighthouse of Alexandria and the famous minaret in Samarra. It is built entirely of well-fired red brick, plaster, and carved stucco. Stucco is cement-based plaster that is mixed on-site and applied wet which hardens to a very dense solid. The mosque is also built from this material. The staircase extends up to the tower 170 feet in height.

There are six prayer niches (mihrab) at the mosque, five of which are flat as opposed to the main concave niche. It indicates the qibla which the profession of faith inscripted in Kufic calligraphy.

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