Amazing Ibn Tulun Mosque 3 Facts about oldest mosque in Cairo

lbn Mosque or Ahmed Ibn Tulun Mosque or Tuluni Mosque.

Ibn Tulun’s Mosque (open daily from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.; free) is a rare surviving example of the classical Islamic period of the ninth and tenth centuries, when the Abbasid caliphs ruled the Muslim world from Iraq. Their purpose-built capital, Samarra, was centered around a congregational mosque where the entire population gathered for Friday prayer, which most likely inspired Ibn Tulun. You enter the mosque through a “Zayada,” or enclosure, which is designed to separate the mosque from its surroundings; to the left is the Gayer-Anderson House. Only within the inner walls does the mosque’s vastness become apparent: the courtyard is 92m square, while the complex measures 140m by 122m.

Why should you visit the Ahmed Ibn Tulun Mosque because it is one of the famous archaeological mosques in Cairo. Where the mosque is located in Ahmed Ibn Tulun Square in the Sayeda Zainab district. Which was built by Ahmed Ibn Tulun in the year 263 AH/877 AD in his new city, Al-Qata.

Mosque of Ahmad ibn Tulun

This enormous mosque, the largest in Cairo in terms of land area, was built in the 9th century CE on the orders of Ahmad Ibn Tulun, a fascinating figure with humble beginnings. As a slave-soldier, he was assigned to govern Egypt for the Abassid Caliphate and had effectively established himself as an independent ruler within four years. He established his own capital city, Al-Qata’i, and commissioned the mosque as its main attraction. The mosque, which was closely modeled after Samarra, the Abbasid capital and Ibn Tulun’s hometown, stood at the western end of a ceremonial avenue that began at Ibn Tulun’s palace complex at the foot of the Muqattam Hills. The palace overlooked a large maydan used for military training.

The mosque itself is a hypostyle structure supported by brick piers rather than local marble columns. It is also distinguished by its spiral minaret, extensive stucco decoration in the Samarra style, and the distinctive, almost figurative, shape of its crenellations.When the short-lived Al-Qata’i was destroyed in the tenth century, the Mosque of Ibn Tulun was the only structure to survive.

The walls of the mosque’s mihrab are characterized by marble mosaics that you enjoy watching. They are topped with a ribbon of glass decorations with inscriptions in Naskhi script. And it dates back to the era of Sultan Lajin.

An impressive structure.

Covering a space of over 6 acres (2.5 hectares), the Mosque of Ibn Tulun consists of an immense courtyard that was built to separate the inner sanctum from the secular society surrounding it. Each side of the courtyard has four covered halls, and in the center is a fauwara – fountain – from the 13th century, which has replaced the original 9th century gilt-domed version.

One of the mosque’s most magnificent features is its minaret, famous for its exterior spiral staircase, similar to that of the Great Mosque of Samarra, in Iraq. Climbing up the minaret, which is accessed from outside the most-like courtyard, is well worth the risky climb for the spectacular view.

The Tulunid Mosque is famous for its distinctive minaret, the only one of its kind that you have not seen before. And there is no parallel among the minarets in Egypt. The minaret was designed according to the ancient heritage, which is 40.44 meters high from the surface of the earth. In the style of the twisted minaret in the Iraqi city of Samarra, and an external ladder is wrapped around it that reaches its roof.

Did You Know?

It was believed that funds for the construction of the mosque and other facilities at al-Qata’i‘ were made possible after Ibn Tulun miraculously stumbled upon the ‘Pharoah’s treasure’ in the desert. Ibn Tulun was allegedly so concerned with the lawfulness of his constructions that he refused to plunder churches for columns as his predecessors had done, preferring instead brick piers.


The Ibn Tulun Mosque is located in a slightly elevated area on Al-Khudairi Street in the Sayeda Zeinab district, Cairo, Egypt.

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