Cairo is known to have some of the oldest and most beautiful mosques in the world. While people tend to celebrate historical mosques and their iconic architecture styles, some mosques which were built in the past few years seem to have made it to the same level of elegance and popularity.
Some of Cairo’s mosques are known to citizens and tourists alike, and are popular either for their architecture, their colors, or even the stories behind them. These are six alluring mosques to visit and enjoy – whether it’s for a memorable religious experience during a holiday such as Eid or for tourism.
Mosque of Ibn Tulun
Located in Sayeda Zeinab in Cairo, the Ibn Tulun Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the city. It was built by Ibn Tulun, who was the governor of Al Fustat in the ninth century by the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad.
With a water fountain in the courtyard, a one-of-a-kind minaret, a large collection of gypsum decor, and a spacious hall, the mosque is a unique religious site and a must-visit. The mosque lies close to Sultan Hassan Mosque and Saladin’s Citadel, and Gayer Anderson’s museum, so all four can be easily combined for a tour of Cairo’s ancient monuments.
Al-Fattah Al-Alim Mosque
Inaugurated in 2019 as the largest mosque in Egypt and one of the largest worldwide, Al-Fattah Al-Alim Mosque is a grand architectural monument. It extends over an area of 106 acres, with a hall that accommodates 17,000 worshipers, with a courtyard that accommodates nearly 8,000 worshipers.
Al-Fattah Al-Alim Mosque also includes a museum of rare archaeological manuscripts and letters. Located in the New Administrative Capital, the mosque is a combination of Ayyubid and Fatimid style, with a touch of modern architecture.
Mosque of Amr ibn al-As
Built in 641 AD, Amr ibn al-As Mosque is the oldest Islamic building in Egypt, and the first mosque in Africa. Following the conquest of Amr ibn al-As, who was one of the close companions of the Prophet Mohammed, he founded the country’s first Islamic capital, Al-Fustat, and later established the first building in the capital: the legendary Amr ibn al-As mosque. It was destroyed and renovated several times, however, it still stands tall and hosts prayers until today.
Mosque of Muhammad Ali
Designed by the Turkish architect Yousif Boushnaq, the mosque was built for Muhammad Ali, the ruler of Egypt from 1805 to 1849. It was built according to the Ottoman architectural style upon Muhammad Ali Basha’s request.
It is also called the ‘Alabaster Mosque’ because its interior and exterior walls are beautifully coated with alabaster. The outer open court contains a copper clock tower, which was gifted to Muhammad Ali Pasha by France’s Louis Philippe in 1845 AD. This mosque’s twin minarets are the highest in the country, with a height of 84 meters each. The magnificent white marble mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Pasha is situated on the right side of the entrance.
Masjid Al Shorta
This mosque is currently one of the most popular mosques hosting weddings and katb ketab (a ceremony usually held before the wedding where couples recite their oath and sign a marriage contract, in the presence of a sheikh) ceremonies across Egypt. Regardless of where you live, couples book months in advance to have their special day at this masterpiece.
Located in New Cairo, the mosque’s classy and elegant white design and its modern architectural style make it a perfect venue for a wedding ceremony, visiting and taking pictures, and of course for prayer. The prominent white colour all around the mosque and its halls is unlike any other across the city.
Al Azhar Mosque
Last but not least, Al Azhar Mosque. There are many mosques you can visit in Cairo, but this one is especially important in Islamic history. It was founded by the Fatimids in 970 AD. With the passing of years, it became the most important hub for Islamic teachings and Sunni theology worldwide. Its five minarets are designed in five architectural styles, symbolizing the dynasties that controlled Al Azhar.
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