Al-Azhar mosque is also known as “The Most Resplendent Congregational Mosque”. The one who commissioned its construction was Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah of the Fatimid dynasty in the new capital of Egypt in 970 by the builder of Egypt, Gawhar El-Seqelly. Here all information that you need to know about Al Azhar mosque:
The History of Al-Azhar Mosque
Al-Azhar was first established in the first place as an educational institution to teach Shi’ite theology and its main target was to spread it all over the country. It is located in El-Hussein Square. The name of ِAl-Azhar mosque is believed to be taken from the name of the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter “Fatima”. Because it was the first mosque and the first Islamic university to be built in Cairo, the city was named since then “The City of A Thousand Minarets”. After Al Karaouine in Idrisid Fes, which is a university in Morocco, Al-Azhar has developed to be the second most important university in the world.
Al Azhar Mosque During the Fatimid Period
During the Fatimid Period, a lot of changes occur in the construction of Al-Azhar mosque. 27 terrific lamps were added to the mosque by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah and he also established a new mihrab made out of Aro Turkish wood for the mosque. The Al Hafez Le Dine Allah, the Fatimid Caliph, wanted to expand the mosque in 1149 AD. He added additional space to the Sahn and added some decorations to the mosque’s walls.
Al-Azhar Mosque During the Fatimid Period
During the Mamluk Period, Al Zaher Baybars wanted to build a minibar in 1266 AD but nothing remained of it except its written instructions. The Tabrisy Madrasa Islamic teaching institution was built by Baybars Khazendar, who was the army commander in the reign of Al Nasser Mohamed Ibn Qalaun. The construction of madrassa added a bigger space to Al-Azhar mosque which hosted Islamic teachings classes and also had a large Islamic library. Then this was followed by the construction of the Afghaweya Madrasa in 1340 A.D. This madrassa contains the library of Al-Azhar in the current time. There is another small school which was called Al Gawhareya Madrasa that contained four Iwans and a small Sahn.
Al-Azhar Mosque During the Ottoman Expire
During the Ottoman Empire, the mosque of Al-Azhar witnessed many achievements and changes and the most memorable achievement among them was the work of Amir Abdel Rahman Katkhuda in 1753 AD. He added a Riwaq “Portico” behind the mihrab in addition to a new minbar & a mihrab. He was responsible for building the gorgeous western gate, which is now the main gate, and added two other gates.
The Construction of Al-Azhar Mosque
The construction work of Al-Azhar mosque lasted for about 3 years. The earlier one consisted of one Sahn “An Open Courtyard”, three iwans “Praying Halls”, and the main gate was located on the western walls of the mosque. Moreover, there is a Mamluk-style dome and an old Mihrab decorated with ornaments and Kofi writings from the Noble Qur’an. There were three gates in the southern, northern, and western walls of the mosque. Gawhar El-Seqqely built the minibar but it was transferred to El-Hakim Mosque.
The Restorations of Al-Azhar Mosque
The original size of Al-Azhar was actually half of what it is today as many additions and restorations have been held in the building through the different eras in Egypt. The supreme council of antiquities was also responsible for restoring Al-Azhar in modern times. During the fighting between the French & the British occupation, Al-Azhar played a major role in forming the history of Egypt. Al-Azhar mosque now consists of five fine minarets with small balconies and carved columns. There are six entrances and the main gate leads into a small courtyard and then into the Aqbaughawiya Medersa to the left. The Taybarsiya Medersa is located on the right and it has a very fine mihrab. The Entrance of Qaitbay was built in 1469 and has a minaret at the top.
What you Can Find inside Al-Azhar Mosque
Inside Al-Azhar mosque, there is a large courtyard inside, which measures about 275 by 112 feet. This courtyard is surrounded by porticos that are supported by three hundred marble columns of ancient origin. There is the prayer hall, which is larger than the courtyard to the east. Surprisingly, the Kufic inscription on the interior of the mihrab is original, although the mihrab had witnessed a lot of changes and modifications.
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What Should I Wear While Being in Egypt?
You should wear whatever you want. It is advised to wear something light from cotton or linen, comfortable and put on sunblock during your time in Egypt in the summer and wear comfortable footwear like a closed-toe shoe to sustain the sandy terrain.
What to Pack for Your Egypt Tour?
You should bring a brimmed hat and sunglasses if you not used to the Egyptian sun &pack everything you could ever need and put in a small bag so you could move easily between your destinations.
Are All Nile Cruises Available at Any Time?
Yes, it is available all years. as the Nile from Aswan to Luxor takes three to four days of sailing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the total cost of 600$ and the Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan take four to five days in Saturday, Monday and Thursday for the coast of 650$.
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Is it safe to travel to Egypt?
Yes, it is absolutely safe to travel to egypt, You will feel secure in Egypt as the current atmosphere of the country is very peaceful after the government took powerful measures like restructuring the entire tourist police to include all the important and tourist attractions in Egypt and construct an entire environment dedicated for ensuring the lives of all tourists.
What are Egypt's Visa Requirements?
They are very simples, If you want to apply for a Visa On Arrival that lasts for 30 days then you should be one of the eligible countries(check the link), have a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining and pay 25$ USD entry fee in cash. As for the E-Visa for 30 days, you should have a valid passport for at least 8 months, complete the online application, pay the e-visa fee then print the e-visa to later be presented to the airport border guard. You could be one of the countries eligible for a free visa for 90 days.
What is the Weather is Like?
The temperature of Egypt ranges from 37c to 14 c, Summer in Egypt is somehow hot and winter is cool and mild but sometimes it becomes cold at night. The average of low temperatures vary from 9.5 ¡ÆC in the wintertime to 23 ¡ÆC in the summertime and average high temperatures vary from 17 ¡ÆC in the wintertime to 32 ¡ÆC in the summertime while the temperature is moderate all along the coasts.
What is the Best Time of Visit Egypt?
It is known the best time to travel to Egypt is in the winter from September to April as the climate becomes a bit tropical, a warm atmosphere with a winter breeze. You will also be notified a week before your trip if the weather is unsafe or if any changes have been made.
Should I Give Tips in Egypt?
It is totally up to you, but if you choose to you can tip the servers at your restaurant 5-10% by handing it to them directly and 5 Egyptian Pounds as a general tip of anyone.
Can I Enter the Pyramids?
Yes, you can enter the pyramids for the small fee of 20$.
How to Enjoy Egypt During Ramadan?
Ramadan is a special time of year for Muslims that should be celebrated by non-Muslims and feel the essence of the Islamic culture. You can fast with the Muslim or just observe but you are always welcome to join the celebrations and festivals.