Al Aqmar Mosque | Cairo | Egypt

Al Aqmar Mosque is an open enclosure mosque, but is much smaller than that of al-Hakim and rectangular in plan. It has several important architectural features. This site was a little to the North of the Fatimid Western Palace and originally occupied by the Coptic Deir al-Haykal (Monastery of the Skeleton).

This small, but unique mosque along Al-Muizz Street is one of the oldest buildings in Islamic Cairo. The builders of Al-Qahira, the walled city that today forms the core of Islamic Cairo, were the Fatimids, who ruled Egypt from 969 until 1171. Originating from present day Tunisia, they conquered Egypt and installed their Shi’a Islamic ideology as the religion of the state.
Al-Aqmar Mosque, or the Moonlight Mosque, has several unique architectural features. It was the first mosque in Cairo to use an offset façade—allowing the facade to remain square to the street front, while the rest of the building sits at an angle, aligning with the qibla, the direction of prayer toward Mecca.

The facade itself is also quite unique, decorated with three fluted hoods around the portal and to either side as well as beautiful inscriptions. Many of the features of this mosque later became common in Cairene mosque architecture.
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