Ibn Tulun Mosque, Cairo

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  • Looking towards the Citadel
    Looking towards the Citadel
    by al2401
  • Courtyard - Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun
    Courtyard - Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun
    by al2401
  • From the minaret - Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun
    From the minaret - Mosque of Ahmed Ibn...
    by al2401
  • uglyscot's Profile Photo

    The Mosque of Ibn Tulun

    by uglyscot Updated Oct 23, 2010

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    Ibn Tulun Mosque
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    This is the most impressive mediaeval mosque in Cairo. It is also one of the largest [2.5 sq km] and oldest in the world..
    The mosque was built about 876-879, and it is still functioning. It is built in the Iraqi style, but it has a pointed arch. It was built of mud-brick and timber. on a rocky outcrop to protect it from the annual flooding of the Nile.
    The mosque eventually fell into ruin, but was restored in the 13th century.
    The walls have a paper-doll-like crenellation. There are six large gates A wooden band [of sycamore wood] with Koranic verses goes all the way round the mosque, just under the ceiling. The courtyard is massive, about six and a half acres, and a climb up the spiral minaret , the only one like it in Egypt, gives a magnificent view.
    Entrance costs about 6 Egyptian pounds. Take your shoes off, or pay to use slippers.

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  • uglyscot's Profile Photo

    the fighting men of Ibn Tulun

    by uglyscot Updated Apr 5, 2006

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    figures on wall of Ibn Tulun

    Tulun was descended from a Central Asian slave presented to Khalif el Mamoun who rose to be commander of the household guards.
    The mosque was built between 876 and 79 and is the largest mosque in Cairo.
    I find the crenellation reminds me of the paper-tolls we used to make by folding and cutting newspaper when we were children. The shadows they make when the sun shines from the right direction is quite impressive.

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  • egyptiandiamond's Profile Photo

    ahmed ibn tulun mosque

    by egyptiandiamond Written Aug 7, 2006

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    The mud-brick monolith of Ahmad Ibn Tulun mosque (dedicated to Egypt's ninth-century ruler, born to a Turkish slave of Mongol origins) is the third largest mosque in the world and the oldest one in Egypt to survive largely in its original state. It incorporates one of the city's most beautiful and unusual structures, a massive, simple, square cloister covered with a mile-long sycamore frieze inscribed with verses from the Koran. Climb the minaret for one of the best views in Cairo, looking out over the city to the pyramids across the river, the Coptic churches in the south, the Arab settlements, the tenth-century palace-city, and Saladin's imposing Citadel on the mountaintop.

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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Ibn Tulun Mosque

    by MM212 Updated Dec 16, 2009

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    Ibn Tulun Mosque
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    Cairo's largest mosque, Ibn Tulun, is also one of its oldest, built in 880 AD during the Abbasid period. Incredibly, it has survived intact since its construction, with the exception of minor Mamluke-period repairs (e.g., the courtyard dome) and additions (e.g. wooden dome above the mihrab). The mosque was built at the edge of el-Fustat, before the founding of Cairo, and is thus located away from the heart and population centre of modern Cairo, which has helped to preserve the structure. The mosque recently underwent extensive and very successful restoration work. The Abbasid-Mesopotamian influence in architecure is visible, particularly in the spiral minaret which resembles that of Samarra in Iraq. The use of the pointed arch is one of the earliest of such examples, and led to the development of Gothic architecture in Europe in later times. Another notable feature is the beautiful mihrab (prayer niche) incorporating Byzantine-style columns. Both the architecture and the peaceful nature of the interior and vast courtyard make Ibn Tulun Mosque one of the more interesting sites to visit in Cairo. Since it is no longer used as a mosque, some locals seem to visit the mosque simply to enjoy the peace & quiet (see photos). Also, unlike at functioning mosques, women are not required to wear head cover in Ibn Tulun's interior.

    For more photos of this serene mosque, check out the travelogue: "Mosque of Ibn Tulun."

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  • queenpud's Profile Photo

    Ibn Tulun Mosque

    by queenpud Updated Oct 7, 2007

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    The Ibn Tulun Mosque was completed in 879 AD on Mount Yashkur by the founder of Egypt's Tulunid Dynasty (868-905 AD), Ahmad ibn Tulun, who came from Baghdad and designed accordingly, so the minerate is unlike anything else in Cairo. There is a beautiful simplicity & calm about the mosque.

    The mosque was constructed on a small hill called Gebel Yashkur, "The Hill of Thanksgiving." It was built of mudbrick. It was the third congregational mosque to be built in what is now greater Cairo, and at approximately 26,318 square meters in size, is the third largest mosque in the world. It is the oldest mosque in Egypt that has survived in a fairly original form.

    It is tantalising....

    Parts of the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me were filmed at the Mosque of Ibn Tulun and in the Gayer-Anderson Museum (which is next door to the Ibn Tulun Mosque).

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  • TheLongTone's Profile Photo

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun

    by TheLongTone Updated Jan 12, 2010

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    This mosque was built in 876 AD by Ibn Tulun as the centre of a settlement north of Al Fustat. Architecturally it is remarkable for it's epic size and formal simplicity and also it's extraordinary spiral minaret, offspring of that at Samarra. It gains it's effect from the contrast between sweeping austerity and restrained but rich decorated surfaces: the wonderful stucco work is confined to the aches of the arcade. and the outside windows.

    Much influenced by the Grand Mosque of Samarra, particularly in the design of the minaret, with it's external spiral staircase, but also in its detailing.

    There used to be a wooden frieze bearing about a quarter of the Qu'ran carved in Kufic script running the entire inner perimeter of the inner wall just below the ceiling but much is now missing. The minbar is a later addition and although beautiful enough it's ornateness is alien to the prevailing aesthetic of the building.

    Free to enter, but baksheesh appropriate for looking after your shoes (or in this vast, effectively open-air, mosque for the shoe covers if you don't want pigeonshit on your socks) and for opening the minaret, which is actually a separate structure at the opposite end to the quibla wall within the mosque's formidable outer enclosure.

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  • mightywease's Profile Photo

    Ibn Tulun Mosque

    by mightywease Updated Jul 25, 2004

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    Ibn Tulun Mosque

    Ibn Tulun Mosque, constructed AD 876-9, is the oldest functioning Islamic mosque in Cairo. It was built by Ahmed Ibn Tulun, who was sent to rule Cairo by the Caliph of Baghdad. These Iraqi origins are seen in the mosque’s architecture making it very different in style and appearance from other mosques in the city.
    The clean, bright brickwork, the unusual minaret, with an outer spiral staircase, and the large open-air prayer space give the Mosque a distinct Middle Eastern feel.
    The mosque covers approximately 6.5 acres in area and the prayer hall, a vast open-air courtyard with an ablutions fountain covered by a doomed roof, was large enough to accommodate the whole Muslim community. The outer perimeter of the prayer hall is shaded by a covered arcade, a boon on a hot day when the heat of the sun seems to be exacerbated by the dazzling brickwork.
    There is little decoration, except for some architectural ornamentation around the top of the arcades, however the simple clear lines of the architecture are striking enough in themselves and need no embellishments. Large wooden doors lead off to the outer courtyard, which surrounds the mosque like a moat. This would originally have been filled with shops and stalls.
    The Mosque is a very peaceful place; we were the only visitors at the time, and impressive both in terms of its size and simplicity. During our visit in September 2003 the complex was undergoing a lot of restoration so many of the walls were covered in scaffolding and, unfortunately, the minaret was closed so we weren’t able to climb up it. We did, however, get to climb up the structure containing the ablutions fountains, which did allow us to gain a better impression of the scale of the mosque. However, take care where you step as the brickwork is un-even and it wouldn’t be hard to lose your footing and trip over.
    Entry cost 12.00 Egyptian Pounds per person plus baksheesh for the canvas coverings to go over your shows and a guide, if you would like one.

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  • leigh767's Profile Photo

    Mosque of Ibn Tulon

    by leigh767 Written Aug 12, 2006

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    The largest mosque in Cairo has a distinct minaret which you can climb o your own without the typical hassle of a mosque guide. Great 360 degree views from the top. Beautiful patterns-- apparently, no two patterns of the window grills are the same.

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  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    Ibn Tulun Mosque

    by leffe3 Updated Oct 17, 2006

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    A mosque from the classical Islamic period of the 9th/10th centuries, this huge and impressive structure is marked by its powerful simplicity. The inner courtyard is 90+ square metres (and would have appeared bigger but for the addition in the 13th century of the mida'a in the centre of the courtyard).
    The minaret - a square tower with an external spiral staircase - is the only one of its kind in Egypt. And the external walls are as impregnable as any major medieval city.

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  • al2401's Profile Photo

    Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun

    by al2401 Updated Nov 13, 2010

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    Minaret - Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun
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    This is the one of the oldest mosques in Cairo and sources like Encyclopaedia Britannica state 'arguably the oldest mosque in Egypt in its original form'. It was constructed from mud bricks and was completed in 879 AD. It is also the third largest mosque in the world.

    It is famous for its minaret. Only one other minaret in the world (Iraq) has an external spiral staircase. It is worth the climb of 168 steps (Yes - I counted!) - the views from the lower balcony are spectacular - only the imam can go to the top.

    The courtyard is surrounded by beautifully arched arcades with intricate detail on top of the outer walls. Inside are examples of stucco wall panels and window grilles. The wood carving on the minbar is particularly fine.

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  • sswagner's Profile Photo

    Mosque of Ibn Tulun

    by sswagner Written Jul 11, 2006

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    Courtyard of the Ibn Tulun

    This simple and elegant mosque is located in the heart of Islamic Cairo. It's design is rectangular with an outer wall and an inner wall. The center of the compound contains a courtyard with the ablutions fountain. A single minaret overlooks the mosque. This is most unique because of its exterior spiral staircase design. This is a great place to study the intricate details of Islamic architecture. Non-Muslims are welcome to visit as long as services are not taking place. Shoes must be removed before entering the inner wall. Similar to the Amr ibn al Aas mosque, this is one of the oldest in Cairo and is an "open air" structure.

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  • aliante1981's Profile Photo

    Ibn Tulun Mosque

    by aliante1981 Written Aug 25, 2002

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    One of the oldest Mosques of Egypt, it was built in the end of 9th century. You enter it through one of some 20 wooden gates. There are gracious porticos and a traditional fountain. You can actually climb the minaret dating back to the 13th century. 3 pounds fee is applied.

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  • yakmyl's Profile Photo

    10.Visit the Ibn Tulun Mosque...

    by yakmyl Written Aug 25, 2002

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    10.Visit the Ibn Tulun Mosque in the Sayyedah (Zeinab district), built in 879AD (265H). There is a characteristic Spiral Minaret over it. http://www.touregypt.net/ibntulunmosque.htm

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  • lukec's Profile Photo

    Islamic Cairo: Mosque of Ibn...

    by lukec Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Islamic Cairo: Mosque of Ibn Tulun
    One of the oldest mosques in Cairo and among the largest in the world. You can climb to the top of the minaret.

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