Jami' al-Aqmar
Cairo, Egypt

The Mosque of al-Aqmar was built in Cairo in 1125. The Fatimid vizier al-Ma'mun al-Bata'ihi was instrumental in its construction, which took place during the caliphate of al-Āmir (r.1101-1130). Located on the main artery of the city, the mosque's elaborate ornamentation and design are seminal for Cairo's architecture, especially for the way its plan shifts to accommodate both the qibla orientation and the existing street pattern. In plan it is a regular, rectangular hypostyle mosque with a square courtyard, but the depth of the façade is adjusted to fit the building behind to the dictates of the existing urban scheme.

Constructed of brick with stone facing, the façade is highly decorated with inscriptions and sculptural decoration. The entrance portal is set within an arch with keel-shaped niche. The interior of the niche is fluted, with a central medallion inscribed with the names of Muhammad and 'Ali, which are also inscribed on the chamfered corner of the building. The brick minaret, along with restorations including the mihrab and minbar, was introduced by the Mamluk Amir Yalbugha al-Salimi in 1397.

Though rising ground levels make the mosque appear at street level, it was originally built above a row of shops which are now buried. These shops were waqf or endowment for the mosque which would have provided it with a tax-exempt income.

The mosque has recently received an addition to restore the early symmetrical appearance of its facade.

Sources:

'Abd al-Wahhab, Hasan. "Al-'Asr al-Fatimi." Majallat al'Imara 2 5-6 (1940): 310-324.

Behrens-Abouseif, Doris. Islamic Architecture in Cairo. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1989.

Behrens-Abouseif, Doris. "The Façade of the Aqmar Mosque in the Context of Fatimid Ceremonial." Muqarnas 9 (1992): 29-38.

Berchem, Max van. "Notes d'archéologie arabe I. Monuments et inscriptions fatimites." In Opera Minora I, 78-201. Geneva: Editions Slatkine, 1978.

Berchem, Max van. "Notes d'archéologie arabe II. Toulounides et Fatimites." In Opera Minora I, 203-233. Geneva: Editions Slatkine, 1978.

Creswell, K.A.C. The Muslim Architecture of Egypt, vol. I. Hacker Art Books, New York, 1978.

Meinecke, Michael. Die Mamlukische Architektur in Ägypten und Syrien (648/1250 bis 923/1517). Glückstadt: Verlag J. J. Augustin, 1992.

Williams, Caroline. "The Cult of 'Alid Saints in the Fatimid Monuments of Cairo, Part I: The Mosque of al-Aqmar." Muqarnas 1 (1983): 37-52.
Location
Shari' al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah, Cairo, Egypt
Images & Videos
Documents
Associated Names
Associated Collections
Events
1125/518-519 AH, restored 1397/799-800 AH
Style Periods
1250-1517
909-1171
Variant Names
Jami' al-Aqmar
Aqmar Mosque
Translated
Mosque of al-Aqmar
Alternate
Gray Mosque
Translated
Building Usages
mosque
religious
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