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Al Azhar Mosque

Al Azhar Mosque, Islamic Cairo

None of the approximately three hundred mosques in Cairo can compete with the Al-Azhar mosque for influence in the history of Islam.

Founded by the Fatimids in 970 A.D. as a place of worship and study, over the centuries the mosque became one of the main centers of Islamic theology and knowledge.

More than a thousand years after its foundation, the Al-Azhar Mosque and its university, from which it takes its name, attract students from all over the world to study the history of Islam and the different schools of thought that preside over the interpretation of the Koran.

Since its foundation, the University of Al-Azhar was an institution that enjoyed great pluralism. Founded by the Fatimid Shiite dynasty of the Ismaili, it became the seat of the Sunni University during the dynasties that came to power in Egypt, but despite the tensions between the various theological currents, Sunni and Shiite exponents always found in the University of Al-Azhar a place to work, teach and debate side by side over the centuries.

Al Azhar Mosque, Islamic Cairo

Today, it is considered an institution of great prestige throughout the world because of its moderating influence and the regulatory authority exercised in Islamic theology.

The mosque has been renovated and enlarged several times, surviving more than a thousand years of political instability.

The different architectural styles of its five minarets bear witness to the different dynasties that exercised control over Al-Azhar. The central white marble patio is the oldest part of the complex, dating back to the original construction, plus two madrassas (religious schools) and a large area reserved for prayer.

Before Al-Azhar University expanded and moved to a second campus in the northern part of the city, students used to meet with teachers on the main patio, where Arabic language and Koranic interpretation classes are still held today.

From the patio, you can admire the three minarets (right to the left side) built-in 1340, 1469, and 1510 respectively. Sultan Al-Ghuri, who also built “Wikala al Ghuri” (the caravanserai) and the complex of “Al Ghouriyya”, is responsible for the minaret dating back to 1510, marked by two twin spires.

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About the author

Magdy Fattouh (Migo) is a creative content marketer and expert in search engines for over 5 years. He manifests his passion in his role as a Creative Content Writer especially in travel where he strives to evoke a strong sense of place in his write-ups.

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