Back to the 9th century

The Foundation of Fatimid al-Qahira

10th Century
5 - Fatimid Mosques in Cairo
Al-Azhar Mosque 
Al-Azhar mosque plan
Main facade of the mosque from Northwest with the three Mamluk minarets of Aqbugha, Qaytbay, and the double-headed minaret of al-Ghuri from (L to R). 
View of the Northwest portico of the mosque with the three minarets in the background
Bab al-Muzayinin (Barbers) built by `Abd al-Rahman Kaytkhuda dated 1753.
Decorative niches and roundels on the wall of the mosque porticos.
The original mihrab of the mosque discovered in 1930's.
Al-Hakim Mosque:Built between 990 and 1003 just outside the walls of al-Qahira, and named after al-Hakim, the third Fatimid caliph in Egypt.
Al-Hakim mosque plan
View of the courtyard of the mosque (after restoration).
The main protruding portal of the mosque (after restoration)
The Northwest encased minaret of al-Hakim.
The old minaret within the encasement.
Inscription band in foliated Kufic.
The Mosque of al-Lu'lu'a: (1015-16)One of many small mosques on the Muqattam cliff attributed to al-Hakim
General view of the mosque of Lu'lu'a before restoration, with the 16th century Khanqah of Shahin al-Khalwati in the backround.
General view of the mosque of Lu'lu'a before restoration.
Same view after Bohras restoration of the mid 1990's.
The Fatimid History of al-Azhar Mosque:
    970: Jawhar al-Siqilli, the commander of the Fatimid army, lays the foundation of the mosque of al-Qahira (later al-Azhar).
    972: First Friday prayer held at the mosque.
    988: First organized teaching at al-Azhar, 35 scholars are housed nearby and paid by the Fatimid state to teach the Isma`ili doctrine.
Al-Hakim bi Amr Allah: (996-1021) The third Fatimid caliph in Egypt and perhaps the most enigmatic and most controversial.
  1009: Caliph al-Hakim establishes a Waqf for the mosque.
    1035: First renovation of the mosque by caliph al-Amir.
Ya`qub ibn Killis: The vizier and able administrator of al-ÔAziz and the designer of early Fatimid processions. He formalized the role of the imam as the supreme head of the community. He was also the first to regularize the educational function of the congregational mosque in Cairo.    
  1129: Caliph al-Hafiz refurbishes the mosque and adds the four porticoes around the courtyard with their keel-arches. 
Characteristics of Fatimid mosque architecture:
  The use of projected portals and domes over mihrabs for ceremonial purposes.
  The use of keel-shaped arches in porticoes and arcades.
  The profusion of fine stucco decoration, especially in mihrabs and qibla walls.
  The dependence on iconographic inscriptions, especially on the entrance facade.

Forward to 11th century

Late Fatimid Period


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